Was Jesus Christ’s Resurrection “fake news?” One Apostle thought so. After Christ’s resurrection the Apostle Thomas was not present the first time Jesus appeared to all the others. When Thomas did arrive and the others told them that they had seen the Lord, he doubted.
He wanted tangible proof. He wanted to touch the wounds of Jesus. Those doubts lead him to forever have the moniker, “Doubting Thomas.” Thomas was there at the second appearance of Jesus and Christ satisfied Thomas’ doubts. Thomas confessed, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said, “Stop doubting and believe.” (Jn.20:27)
Today, we live in the age of “fake news” and we have become a nation of skeptics doubting every claim. Such a diet of skepticism erodes the hope of finding any truth. Many people have doubts about the resurrection. Some feel such a story is for young children and old ladies and the uneducated. Almost all who feel that way, have never themselves really studied the Bible, but based their opinion more on hearsay, maybe they heard something in a movie. Yet, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the scriptural account if one seeks it out.
Dr. Simon Greenleaf was a royal professor of law at Harvard University and later, Dane professor of law there. Greenleaf produced his famous three-volume work, “A Treatise on the Law of Evidence,” which is still considered one of the greatest single authorities on the subject in the entire literature of legal procedure. Greenleaf turned his attention to the evidence for the resurrection of Christ applying the same principles. His findings were recorded in his book, “An Examination of the Testimony of the Four Evangelists by the rules of Evidence Administered in the Courts of Justice.” His conclusion was that there is more evidence for the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ than for just about any other event in history.
Prof. Thomas Arnold, chair of modern history at Oxford University, an author of ”A History of Rome,” concluded, “I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again.”
In his work, “I believe in the Resurrection,” Dr. George Ladd observed that faith does not mean a leap in the dark, an irrational incredulity, a believing against evidences and against reason. It means believing in light of the historical facts, consistent with evidences, on the basis of witnesses.
Dr. Ian Hutchinson stated, “I’m a professor of nuclear science and engineering at MIT, and I believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. So do dozens of my colleagues …”
I could list hundreds more. These people are not little children or old ladies or the uneducated making those statements. They represent the most educated and scholarly serving in the most prestigious institutions, all claiming the evidence for the resurrection is overwhelming. Even Christ’s enemies admitted the tomb was empty and offered explanations as to why. Dr. Paul Maier calls this “positive evidence from a hostile source. In essence, if a source admits a fact that is decidedly not in its favor, the fact is genuine.” Christianity could have been so easily extinguished that very first day if the body of Jesus was produced. It wasn’t and never has been, because He is risen.
Christianity stands or falls on the resurrection. The Apostle Paul stated, “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,…” (1 Cor.15:3)
Jesus stated, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”(Jn.14:6) His resurrection proved that He is the truth and that the resurrection wasn’t fake news. Jesus told Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
His Easter message to all still resounds, “Stop doubting and believe.”
Rev. Walderman is a spiritual leader at Lynbrook Baptist Church.