"This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this." Acts 2:32
Last night I heard Josh McDowell speak here in MN, which was a totally unexpected treat. I'd only heard him once before, and I do love his rational approach to the beliefs of Christianity, which is the only way we're going to reach this generation of young people. I agree.
He relayed one of the things that convinced him about the authenticity/ believability of Jesus as THE (only) Way and THE Truth, during his college days investigation as an unbeliever.
Right up until His death, the disciples never got Jesus. I find it ever more significant now, after what Josh said, that the Bible records that all of his disciples ran away in fear on the night of his crucifixion. Why would you run away from a man you truly believe is the Son of God—from the only hope for mankind? Answer for dummies: You wouldn't—unless you didn't believe.
A big reason why they doubted was because, according to the prophets' teachings, they were waiting for a king to come save them. When Jesus seemed the opposite of everything they waited for, they just couldn't make a connection between their hearts and their heads. Yes, He was a good guy and seemed to have a lot of power to do miracles, but still…where was all this power going to get them if He didn't stand up to the authorities?
When He died, His followers must have been devastated, as Josh reasoned. They must have waited until the last second, hoping He would come down off that cross and get busy ruling.
The deciding factor for Josh was this. All of the apostles (I think 13 when you add Paul and Judas' replacement) died a horribly tortured death for Jesus. These were the same men who ran away the night of Jesus' death. What made the difference? Why were they now ready to get their fingernails ripped off, their organs cut out, bones broken, body burned to a crisp—you get the idea. There had to be something that happened between the night they ran for their lives, and the time it was ready for their turn at the cross.
Josh decided there was only one rational explanation, and it is based on the eyewitness account—the most reliable form of proof available—of many hundreds of people, including the disciples.
The Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus returned bodily and finally they understood His authority, reigning as King to destroy their spiritual enemies, and the next time He returnes, their physical enemies. Finally their faith was full circle, and they would never be the same again. And this is not just blind faith. There were hundreds of people who saw Jesus after His resurrection, who attested to this fact in history. They couldn't all be lying, and if they were, why would they stake their lives on a stupid lie? Answer for dummies: They wouldn't.
Stay tuned this week for a continuation of this series where I will share what has recently struck me, much the same way this thought came to Josh. It is a very compelling thought that is sure to keep you thinking…
In the mean time, check out Josh's book "The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict" if you have serious doubts or know someone who does. He tackles belief questions with rational intelligence and not emotional hype or blind faith. Exactly what this world needs now more than ever!