Quite a popular bumper sticker lately, particularly in our relativistic age which encompasses many paths to God. Some take it to mean coexist peacefully, disagree without killing one another. I can support that. But if it means, as one image proclaims, “God is too big to fit into one place,” equating all belief systems, then I take issue.
Easter is the reason.
Some belief systems say they are one of many paths to God. However, several claim exclusivity, including Christianity with Jesus’ statement that no one comes to the Father except by him (John 14:6). Audacious, and a huge lie if not true. But Christianity cannot coexist with other beliefs—either it’s true or it’s a fraud. As we enter Easter week, the one following Resurrection Sunday, let’s explore the justification for that claim.
If Easter occurred, we have strong proof of Jesus’ claims. If it did not, Jesus’ claims fall. Paul the apostle knew that, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:14-15).
Can we believe the resurrection? First, before the crucifixion, the apostles ran and quivered in fear. After, all gave the rest of their lives telling about this, and all but one died for their faith. Second, the first century had a number of witnesses,” he was buried, that he was raised on the third day and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time…Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also” (I Corinthians 15:4-8). False claims about the resurrection would have been too easy to prove in the face of eyewitnesses.
Last, even non Christian historians confirmed the resurrection. Josephus began as a Jewish general during the fall of Israel, then wrote several books about the Jews to the Romans. One includes the “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works…when Pilate…had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him did not forsake him, for he appeared alive to them on the third day” (Antiquities XVIII:III).
Christianity has an abundance of proofs, but the resurrection is at the core. But, what is the significance?
Those who have already entered into relationship with Jesus, or who are curious about pursuing him, can take confidence that our faith isn’t just convenient, that we follow because we were taught like that or raised in a predominantly Christian country, or that it works for us, leaving open the option that other beliefs can work equally well for others. It has the foundation of truth, a truth that doesn’t rely on people accepting it.
For those who so far haven’t been curious, thinking about the reality of the resurrection should serve as a strong enticement to explore it. After all, if Christianity has such a core of solid truth, one that no other faith system can match, then the time needed to discover its other aspects of truth and its core beliefs would be well worth it.
Kick Starting the Application
What are your current thoughts about the resurrection? Are you confident in its reality? Why? If it’s true, how does that change your view of Jesus, of faith, or your life? To what level does the truth of the resurrection impact your daily behavior and thoughts? Do you have doubts about it? Would exploring the reality of the resurrection change your beliefs?