No one ever did come back…?08-04-2015 - Posted by Andre Piet
The above sentence I hear, with a measure of regularity, in everyday conversations, when the subject of death is discussed. It is meant to indicate that death is the end, or at least that there is no reason to believe anything else. But that is not true. We have a documented collection of testimonials that prove that someone has returned. Testimonials that we know under the name of “the New Testament.” It are the writings of eyewitnesses, who describe that Jesus proved to be whom He claimed to be and that He, three days after His crucifixion, left the tomb empty, behind Him. That His tomb was empty, friend and foe, apparently, agree. Only, the enemies claimed that Jesus’ body was stolen by his disciples. An almost impossible task if we consider that the tomb was closed-off with a heavy stone and was also secured with an imperial seal and was guarded by several, armed Roman soldiers. But there is yet a much greater objection to the accusation of theft. For then we must assume that the disciples, who were completely disillusioned after Jesus’ death, came up with the idea to steal His body, in order to spread the lie that Jesus had been resurrected. Is that a credible scenario? Would these disciples, willingly and knowingly, have invented the many appearances of Jesus Himself, including the appearances to so many at one time, and even to more than five hundred brethren on one occasion? Were these all false witnesses, i.e. people who claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ, while they knew it was a lie? Is that the impression the New Testament gives us of these witnesses? Is this in harmony with the moral message they proclaimed? But does it not, above all, leave unexplained why these people were willing to give up everything for their testimony? Their testimony earned them no respect, no status, no wealth or other benefits, on the contrary, many of them eventually died as a martyr. Joyfully even! And all for a claim of which they knew it was a deception? To such desperate ‘explanations’ one needs to resort, if one rejects the historical testimony of Jesus’ disciples; while there is a perfectly sensible and obvious explanation for the empty tomb, the many appearances, as well as for the powerful and joyful testimony of the disciples of Jesus: the Lord is risen indeed! The New Testament presents us no philosophy or religion. It is based on this one, undeniable historical fact: the stone of the tomb of Jesus is rolled away and HE LIVES!
And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, (…) But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits… -Paul in 1 Corinthians 15 verse 14, 15 and 20-