We are reflecting this week on the biggest ‘Fearless Question’ of all: Is Jesus Really Alive?
Today I want to get people thinking about some of the ‘evidence’ pointing to the truth of Jesus’ Resurrection. The first thing I would like to point out is that there were a whole heck of a lot of people around in the 1st century (the years right after Jesus was crucified and raised) who were telling and writing all about it. When you open up the Bible and read in the New Testament, you will see Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. These are four independent reports of what happened… as told by those who were there or those who researched it and talked to those who were there.
OK, so they are not completely independent… both Luke and Matthew used Mark’s Gospel material when they wrote their own… but they both also used independent stuff. They both ALSO used the same stuff from a source that was never published (Bible scholars call it ‘Q’). John’s Gospel is independent.
All of this is to say something that we all know well… if one person says something (or if one report, newspaper, tv show, webpage, etc says something) it is easy to disbelieve. But, if more people (different people, who don’t know each other) all say pretty much the same thing… it becomes harder and harder to disbelieve.
Add to this ‘The Letters of Paul’ (known as the Epistles) which follow the Gospels in the New Testament… especially: Romans, Philippians, Galatians, Philemon, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, and 1 Thessalonians were all written independently of the Gospels… and earlier!
This is the stuff that gets lost in the final product (The Bible) when we open it up to read. Like many ‘modern books’ we can get to thinking that everything is presented from first to last and each ‘new’ section’ builds on the last. But this is not the case with the New Testament.
All of this should give us a moment to pause… this story is bigger, more widespread, and independently verified than we might first think.
If we picked up our Bible today and flipped through the Gospels and Epistles with this in mind, we might be inspired anew to believe!