I was skipping through the Gospels today and noticed, once again how human nature simply does not change from generation to generation. Concerning Jesus’ resurrection:
Some of the people believed immediately upon seeing the evidence. The tomb was empty. They’d remembered His repeated predictions that He would be killed and rise again and they said, “He’s alive.” Immediately they went to tell others.
Some of the people believed only after checking out what they’d heard. They saw the empty tomb as well as the grave clothes still wrapped like a cocoon. The 90 or so metres of strips of clothe were not strewn about as would be the case with grave robbers. And of course no one, let alone someone on the verge of death could have fought His way out of all that clothe that was stuck together with almost 50kilos of sticky resin and spices. These people accepted that not only Old Testament prophecy about Messiah, but Jesus’ own prophecies had come true.
Some of the people believed only after having Jesus appear right in front of them. They were not going to go on hearsay or even eyewitness testimony. Even the physical evidence of the empty tomb was not enough for them. After all, dead people do not come alive by natural means. These people needed to see Jesus, hear Him speak, watch Him eat and feel his wounds with their own hands before they would admit that yes, “He’s alive.”
Whatever evidence was available, it was enough to change sceptics into believers. Whatever evidence was available, it turned cowards into fearless evangelists. Because they could believe with confidence, so can we.
Then, as is today, however, there were those for whom no amount of evidence was, is or ever will be enough. I often use the comparison with the holocaust in an attempt to show atheists that their stance in denying God’s existence is not evidence-based but presuppositional in nature. When I make this comparison, atheists come back with how the holocaust was documented thoroughly via photographs and in writing. The history of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is only attested to by documents that atheists reject before they’ve even read them. Atheists don’t get it. The point I’m making is that NO amount of evidence is good enough for those who don’t want to believe in the holocaust NOR for those who don’t want to accept the life of Jesus as proclaimed in these ancient documents.
And so, we have men and women the world over who, because of what Jesus has done on the cross, are pardoned from sin. They have been set free from their prison sentence yet they refuse to leave their cell. Mired in doubt and fear, bitterness and resentment, atheists steadfastly maintain that the evidence before them means nothing. The plea of people to “Come home! You’re free to come home!” falls on deaf ears.