These days… people are pretty practical. Many will say, “OK fine, people say Jesus was raised from the dead… what does it matter if we believe it, it was a long time ago”. Yes, well… it may seem like a long time ago (and a galaxy far far away) until we really focus in on the most astounding evidence for Jesus’ resurrection that there is. No, it’s not how the politics of Jerusalem or Rome are reflected in the writings (although those ARE good evidence). No, it’s not analyzing the psyches’ of the disciples and what they were up against or the socioeconomic status of women (although THAT is good evidence as well). And no, its not how the who-done-it style of detective work determines the chances that Jesus body was stolen. And no, it is not even a clear historical timeline of writing and sources of the New Testament. If you are not familiar with any of these ‘reasons’ for disbelief please read the blog entries from this past week.
The REAL evidence is changed lives… then and now.
You see, the abstract historical evidence is fine… but the real test for the truth of Jesus resurrection comes when we take Jesus up on the promise he made:
“In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am with God, and you are with me, and I am IN you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by God, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” “Those who love me will keep my word, and God will love them, and we will come to them and live within them. (John 14:19-23 my paraphrasing).
The basic idea is that when we reach out for God in Christ, God reaches into us and changes our lives. God does this through the power of God’s spirit… traditionally referred to as the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised this would be a result of his death and resurrection. And since the time of the disciples, the people who have ‘reached out for God’ have been given real evidence of the truth of the resurrection in the reality of their changed lives… and the changes they make in the world for good.
The really good news for all of us is that we don’t have to just rely on Bible scholars and past evidence to experience the Risen Jesus… we can reach out to God right here and right now, and God has promised to show us God’s truth in changing our lives and the world for the better.