|Vol. 15 No. 12 December 2013||
Everything about Christianity revolves around the resurrection of Jesus. Paul made it abundantly clear that if Christ is not raised from the dead then we are still in our sins, and we are to be most pitied among men (1 Corinthians 15:16-19). If there is no resurrection from the dead, if Jesus did not die and rise again, then we are wasting our time. Since everything hinges on the resurrection, can you be sure that Jesus rose from the dead? We were not there to see it, and our observations tell us that dead men stay dead. Would you believe me if I told you my grandfather was raised from the dead? What if I told you I saw him with my own eyes? Therefore, why believe the biblical account?
Four facts of history need to be addressed. (1) Jesus lived in first century Palestine. (2) He was crucified by the Romans. (3) His tomb was found empty. (4) His disciples claimed He was raised from the dead. The fact of the matter is that no explanation fits the facts better than resurrection.
First of all, there is absolutely no reason to doubt the New Testament documents in terms of authenticity and accuracy. Second, if Jesus was not raised, then what happened to His body? A guard was placed there to prevent theft (Matthew 27:62-66). Some believe he fainted, but the Romans (1) were professional executioners and (2) ensured Jesus was dead when they stabbed him (John 19:31-37).
Some believe the tomb was empty because it was the wrong tomb. It has been over ten years since my dad’s parents were buried, and I know right where to find them; did they really forget over three days? There are probably a half dozen other possible explanations of what happened to His body, but the only one that works is resurrection. The fact of the matter is that “God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible to be held in its power” (Acts 2:24).
The Bible is the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). It is all-sufficient (2 Timothy 3:17). Respect for God’s Word requires respect for its Author, authority, aim and its attainment.
The Author of the Bible is Jehovah God. God spoke to man through the ages by the prophets in Old Testament days. Now in the Christian age, He speaks to us through His Son (Hebrews 1:1-2). God has revealed His Word through the Holy Spirit to inspired writers (1 Corinthians 2:10). These holy men of God spoke God’s Word as they were moved (guided) by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). Therefore, if the Bible is from God, we need to respect it and accept it as the Word of God as did the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 2:13).
Respect for the Author demands respect for His authority. Since the day God spoke the world into existence, He has had authority over man and over all the affairs of man. God has never relinquished His authority! God the Son was granted all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He is the one through whom God speaks today (Hebrews 1:2). If one does not respect the Word of the Lord and does not receive the Word of God, he will be judged by those very words of the Lord that he rejected (John 12:48).
What was the aim or purpose of God’s Word? It was simply to reveal God’s will for man (1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 1:11-12; 2 Peter 1:20-21). It was presented to mankind for our own good (cf. Genesis 2:16; Deuteronomy 6:18, 24; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:15-16). The Holy Scripture is able to make one wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). God’s Word has certainly met its aim, and it thus demands our respect.
What the Word of God has accomplished or attained over the centuries is remarkable and is deserving of man’s respect. The Bible has benefited every nation and people that has yielded to the Word of God. Those nations have accomplished much, experienced order and prospered. Consider the influence of God’s Word on history and civilizations for the 6,000 years man has lived on earth. This alone demands respect for God’s Word. The Bible continues to impact humanity in spite of doubters and unbelievers.
The Word of God is still living and active (Hebrews 4:12). It still has the power to save (Romans 1:16). It still demands the respect of any serious student of the Word. May we all live by a “thus saith the Lord.”