Almost every day now for the past 2 weeks, I’ve been seeing, and hearing one thing over and over: “If you can prove that the resurrection didn’t happen, then Christianity will cease to exist.” So, I’ve been thinking about that. Is it possible to prove it? Or is it more difficult to dis-prove it?
I was honored yesterday to document the joining of two lives in matrimony. The bride comes from a Jewish background, and the groom is Christian. They were married by a female Rabi. I have never seen a Jewish ceremony, and I was interested in the traditions that go along with it. The Rabi explained during the ceremony the reason for these traditions, and she quoted many scripts from the Old Testament. One thing she harped on was the need for tradition, especially oral.
It is Jewish custom to learn, and be able to recite the Old Testament. It always has been. If you go into a Jewish synagogue (which I have, on a school field trip) you will see that each temple has a Torah. Each Torah is hand written, copied directly from a previous one, usually a couple hundred years old. You can only copy a Torah if you are specially trained to do so. While I was visiting the Jewish temple, one of the 50 men allowed to write a Torah was there. He had the scrolls laid out, and was creating a new one for that church.
I bring this up because I want to give you a sense of tradition of history. It is kept very sacred, and no words are different from the first Torah to the last. The same is true of their oral traditions. These stories, and truths have been passed down from generation to generation.. and unlike the game ‘telephone’, there are no deviations from the original. How then can someone look at the Bible (the Old Testament, or Torah) and say that these are fables? This is history.
When Jesus came into the lives of the Jews, the religious leaders were in upheaval over Him. They could see by His miracles, and closeness to God that He was there to fulfill the prophesies about Him written in the Old Testament. They all were fully aware of what this man would be like, and the sacrifice He would give for humanity. They didn’t want the Messiah to come, because it would change their way of doing things. I find it crazy that even as they were crucifying Him, that they chose to ignore the words written (that they knew by heart) in Isaiah 53:
“1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makeshis life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.”
So what about the New Testament? The pages are written by men who bore witness to the life of Jesus, His truths, and His resurrection. During the crucifixion, these men were considered trespassers to the Jewish customs, by following Jesus, and proclaiming Him to be God. Why would they go out of their way to write about this moment in history if they were not willing to stand up for the truth? Most of them died for what they believed. Are you willing to do that? They witnessed His life, His death, and His resurrection. They were instructed by God to tell everyone they came in contact with about the Living God (Jesus). They believed what happened, and so do I.
I implore you to research the validity of the New Testament. Although scholars differ on who these men were that wrote these books, and how they perceived what they recorded, it is clear that these things happened. There are accounts from historians who witnessed the darkening of the sun the moment Jesus died. They are recorded from all over the known world at the time, most of the historians being non-Christian. If this was a fictitious event, why would historians have recorded it?
Now on to the resurrection.. there are several ideas on what happened to Christ’s body, and I found a great article about them: http://bible.org/article/false-theories-against-resurrection-christ
Another great resource for the validity of the New Testament, in terms of age and textual congruencey: http://www.creatingfutures.net/validity.html
The more research I get into, and the more I read the Bible (new and old) as a historical document, and not as a story, the more I come to realize the truths that God is presenting. Not only is the Bible the gateway to salvation, but it is a great read!