This is the one season I have pondered more than any other.  Most Americans are fine with Christmas and presents and a cute little plastic baby Jesus in a nativity scene.  But what do you make of someone who rose from the dead?  I guess we can cover it with chocolate, hard-boiled eggs and Easter bunnies and try to ignore it, but the nagging tale remains.  That is much harder for people to deal with than a baby in a manger.  I tend to be a pretty logical person so I think of those difficult things in life in terms of logic.  The one event that sets Christianity apart from all other belief systems is the resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  So looking at that event there can be only two possibilities, it did happened or it did not happen.  With that there are only four possible responses:

 

     It really happened but I choose not believe the story; It really happened and I do believe the story.  It did not happen but I choose to believe the story; and it did not happen and I don’t believe the story.

     There are many that have done exhaustive studies on the evidence of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.  One of the best I have seen is by Lee Strobel called The Case for Christ.  My purpose here is just thinking through the ramifications of our decision based on if it really did or did not happen. 

      If the resurrection event did not happen and I choose not to believe the story, then there really is no benefit or detriment to me.  It is a non-event.  If it did not happen, yet I choose to believe the story, I may try to live a better life and treat people kindly.  Maybe I will believe some of the things the Bible teaches.  Yet, if it really did not happen there is no other great gain except that I can call myself a “good person,” but I would also living a lie.

      If the resurrection of Jesus truly did happen, that has much more consequential ramifications.  First, it validates what Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through me.” (Sal’s paraphrase, look it up in your preferred version.)  At the very core it validates that Jesus is who He claimed to be.  That one statement by Jesus is the most inclusive and exclusive statement ever made!  Exclusive because it says there is only one way to heaven, and that is through Him.  It is inclusive in that His death and resurrection made heaven available to every single person on earth.  Second, the question that Pontius Pilot asked now belongs to us, “What shall I do with the one called the Christ?”

     We must then ask, what if it is true and I believe it?  What responsibility do I have to learn, to seek and to know?  If it is true, it is not a “religion” but a historic event.  That is what sets Christianity apart from every other belief system.  (I don’t like the word “religion” because there are too many belief systems that people ascribe to that are comparable to many world religions, such as atheism, socialism, humanism, global warming, evolution, etc.  These are all belief systems that people cling to despite the lack of evidence or questionable evidence for them being true, or in the case of socialism for being successful. ) If it is true, and I believe the story, there is the consequence of knowing the rest of what Jesus said is reliable.  His comments about Heaven (eternity), Hell (judgment), life, how to treat others, how we should view ourselves, and most importantly, how to relate to God and our purpose in life now have far more meaning.

      What if it is true, yet I choose not to believe the story? We need to explore the fact that if the resurrection of Jesus really did happen, then what else about His life and claims does it validate?  If true, then what would be the consequence of choosing not to believe it?  This is not to instill fear of judgment but instead to say, what are you missing that should have? What amazing blessings are you cheating yourself and your loved ones out of by insisting it is not true?

      If you read this far, I encourage you to find out the truth.  Read and explore.  Look at an honest view of both sides of the debate and look at the real evidence.  Sift through the inflamed rhetoric (There is a lot of that out there!) and hone in on the facts.  You may be amazed at what you find!

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