Christians don’t base their faith in Jesus on the story of creation in the Bible. Good Christians disagree about where on the scale of literal to allegorical the first few chapters of the Bible are exactly, so it is clear that our faith is not based on that. Our faith isn’t based on the correct version of the Bible, though we talk about that a fair bit, too. Our faith is not based on which denomination, which pastor is the correct pastor, which view of the Revelation of John is precisely correct, either.
Our faith is built on an event, a one-time event. An event where lots of people saw a man die, clearly die, and then saw Him alive three days later. If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then Christians are to be pitied for their faith in something that isn’t true – that we have foolishly based our present lives and our eternal future on something that isn’t true.
However, I have been persuaded it did happen. I say this for two reasons.
The first reason was given to me by a Jewish New York City police detective who had become a follower of Jesus. What he said was this: In his line of work, the body always shows up. Sure, there are famous cases where the body has never been found, but it is really hard to get rid of a body. They always show up. And no one ever found Jesus’ body. They looked for it, posted guards outside the tomb, but the body was never found. In those days, of course, they didn’t have concrete or all of the machines and places we have to hide a body. And the body never showed up, as much as the Temple leadership looked for it. And they should have looked for the body. It would disprove what the disciples were saying.
That is the other thing that persuades me that the Resurrection is true. The disciples witness that they saw Jesus alive after He had been killed. They started saying this quite soon after Jesus died, and never stopped. Most of them were killed for testifying that Jesus was alive, and they never changed their testimony. Death no longer scared them, because they had seen their friend alive again. They went from hiding and running away from the powerful people in Jerusalem to confronting them because something had changed. They had seen, they said, Jesus alive again.
I invite you to consider this event if you haven’t before. Each of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, has a version of Jesus’ death and the Resurrection. And then you might want to read a little further into Acts, to see how the disciples reacted in their astonishment that Jesus was alive. If you are a Christian, make sure you are in church this Sunday, because it is the cornerstone of your faith.
God bless and have a happy Easter.
The Rev. David Moore is pastor of Union Presbyterian Church of Los Altos, 858 University Ave. For more information, call 948-4361 or visit unionpc.org.