I have had a lot of conversations over the years with students and faculty who mocked Christianity, and ultimately me. They accused me of being naïve because I actually believed in the resurrection of Jesus. They felt sorry for me because I put so much so much trust in the Scriptures, a book of myths and fables they argued, and one they never read for themselves. They scoffed at the idea of miracles, and the idea of an empty tomb.
They posited that the early Christians were religious zealots who could not accept the fact that their hero died. So they made up the resurrection story and came to believe their own fabrication. One graduate student even dared to call me a “loser” for believing this stuff.
But I know that I am not a loser. Why? Because what I believe is based on historical evidence, and in the end, we win. How do I know? Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.
Jesus did rise from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. And one day we will fully experience the “power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3:10) when we are raised to be united with Him. We will see Him defeat all of his foes (even death) as He puts “everything under His feet.” That will include those very people who claim that He is still in the grave, and those who pity us for our simple mindedness.
If and when opponents of Christianity attempt to discredit your faith, remember that our victory is as certain as if it already happened. It is like looking at reruns of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey gold medal victory over Russia in 1980. It is the thrill of watching the Berlin Wall tumbling down in 1989. For those of us in New England, it is remembering the Boston Red Sox winning their first World Series in 89 years in 2004, then doing it again in 2007. For many others, the ROCKY movies stir up memories of overcoming tremendous odds to gain victory.
As we think about key moments in history such as these, or watch one of our favorite movies, we experience again the excitement about the outcome. But you never doubt the outcome because you already know the winners.
Our victory in Christ is just as certain: A public execution authenticated his death. A government official secured the gravesite. In spite of guards, the grave was found empty. Hundreds of people claimed to see Jesus alive after his grisly death. His followers were dramatically changed from cowards to witnesses. Jewish believers changed their day of worship. The resurrection was unexpected, but predicted. It was a great climax to a life well lived. It resonates with the experience of those who trust Him.
Think theologically. How strong is your belief in the resurrection? Is the fact that the Bible asserts it enough for you? Who mocks your belief in the resurrection? Have you prayed for them and witnessed to them? We do not need to gloat about the resurrection of our Lord. We do need to daily assume our responsibility to tell the good news of what we have seen and heard to everyone – even those who ridicule us, and Christ’s worst doubters, skeptics, cynics, and scoffers. Be humble and obedient to Jesus. Because in the end, the fact remains, we win! Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of our final victory.
Love is a verb,
P.S. Tim Keller has a great chapter (#13) called “The Reality of the Resurrection” in his book, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism. There is a study guide available for you (and your skeptical friends) to use as you consider reading Keller’s book.