Day 11: A Seemingly Crazy Claim – Part 4b

Did God visit Earth?

Bible References (NIV)

Devotional

Have you ever held a belief that you later changed after coming across new information? Today we’re looking at Jesus’ resurrection, and you’ll be surprised to discover how many academics agree that the evidence says it happened.

Overwhelming historical evidence now exists for Jesus’ resurrection even though we are close to 2000 years after the event. This evidence is so strong that even many sceptics of the Christian faith have admitted, for example, that Jesus’ followers had experiences after his death in which he somehow appeared to them as the risen Christ. Gerd Ludemann, a leading German critic of the resurrection, would be an example. This isn’t to say Ludemann believes Jesus rose. He is simply being academically honest after studying the evidence.

For another example, Pinkas Lapede was a Jewish academic. He surprised many by admitting that, on the basis of the evidence, the God of Israel must have indeed raised Jesus of Nazareth from the dead. It was an astonishing admission — noting that he still did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. Today’s video clip will give you more information.

The logic of the resurrection isn’t difficult. If there is a God, or even just a spiritual realm, then miracles are possible. The question isn’t therefore whether the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection could happen, but whether it did.

I’m a believer in miracles. I have numerous stories. I was privileged to pray with a man who’d been stuck in a bed for 9 years in Indonesia. On the day before my visit he had been prayed for in Jesus’ name and stood for a first time. While I was there I saw him walk down the hallway. As we prayed for him the Holy Spirit touched him and he wept. He simply said, “I feel the love of God all over me.” He wasn’t yet a Christian, but I know he went to church that next weekend.

Many times I’ve found myself in situations where I needed God’s help. If we take God’s provision of finances for Christian communication (‘outreach’) efforts as an example — we’ve been short of finance for national outreach efforts we do in New Zealand many times. With no options left to us, the money has somehow always still come in. Any reasonable observer of the pattern could only say it is a miracle.

I recall one of our sons saying at the dinner table, “I struggle to believe miraculous healings take place”. This is very understandable, because they can be quite rare. I moved the family to watch a video documentary in the lounge titled, ‘Miracle Scene Investigation — Seven Miracles and a Martyr’, by Cfan. We watched documentary footage of a blind woman seeing, a lame man walking, a deaf man hearing, a mute man speaking — and also of a dead man who came back to life after being declared dead a few days prior and placed in the mortuary with cotton stuffed up his nose.

Miracles do happen. The evidence also does say that Jesus rose from the dead, and this is important because — as 1 Corinthians says — if Jesus hasn’t been raised, ‘our preaching is useless and so is your faith’. The implications are life-changing.

Video clip: A Seemingly Crazy Claim – Part 4b — 5.30mins

Reflection questions

  • What are some of the strongest evidences for the resurrection?
  • If a God exists, then miracles are possible. Having established reasons why a God exists in devotions 2 and 3 of this series, what historical evidence convinces you that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead?
  • Why is this particular miracle so important to the Christian faith?
  • What evidence or illustration could you share with someone else, to prompt them to consider the possibility that Jesus really was who he claimed to be?

For prayer

“Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being more humble than we could possibly comprehend. To think that you would allow mere humans to kill you – let alone to speak a word against you, is unexpected. Thank you also for enabling various evidences of your resurrection to be left behind. This is an act of kindness toward us. Thank you.”

coming up in our next devotion

Day 12: A Seemingly Arrogant Claim – Part 5a

Have you ever been given incorrect directions? It doesn’t take long to realise that taking any road at all won’t get you to your desired destination, and it is the same with the world’s religions. Some people like to deny that spiritual truth exists, suggesting instead that all religious views are equally ‘true’.

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