IS the Christian faith a leap in the dark based on feelings, not fact; emotions, not
IS the Christian faith a leap in the dark based on feelings, not fact; emotions, not intellect? Many people assume that Christian belief has no place in knowledge and that therefore Christianity is a factually vacuous religion for weak-minded people who need an emotional crutch.
The Bible makes a very different truth claim. In 1st Corinthians 15:3-6, written by Paul the Apostle in the early 50s AD, he says: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.
“After that, he appeared to more than 500 of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living.”
Paul’s argument for the truth of Christianity has nothing to do with emotions or blind faith.
It is based entirely on historical fact — the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Writing within three decades of Christ’s death and resurrection, Paul challenges the sceptics to talk to the eyewitnesses, a group of more than 500 people. If Christ had not risen from the dead, this challenge would have destroyed Christianity.
Evidence from the Bible may carry less weight for the contemporary sceptic, so it is important to examine first and second century discussions of Christ’s death and resurrection from the point of view of the non-Christian.
Space does not permit a full presentation of the evidence but, without exception, the early non-Christian authors do not deny the death and resurrection of Christ. Instead, they try to explain it away as magic, demonic activity, or highly impressive sleight of hand.
The most prominent examples are Flavius Josephus, Gaius Cornelius Tacitus, Celsus, Lucien of Samosata, Plinius Secundus and Seutonius.
A recent survey revealed that 40 per cent of people in England do not believe that Jesus was a real person. This is impressive ignorance in the face of clear historical evidence that Jesus was a historical figure who died and rose again.
Jesus predicted that he would be executed by crucifixion and that he would rise from the dead on the third day. This prediction was entirely accurate.
We can therefore trust Jesus when he says: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
“For even the Son of Man [a term Jesus used to refer to himself] did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45).
Jesus claimed to be God become man, he claimed to be the only saviour and he claimed that he could forgive sins. These are serious claims.
What is the thought for the week? Jesus died and rose from the dead. He did this so that our sins could beÂ forgiven.
We need to confess our sin to the Lord — believe in him and be saved!