In the previous post, we talked about the significance of the resurrection to our identity as a Christian. We follow Christ ultimately because He has risen from the dead.
Any fool can say what Jesus said and can die on the cross and can scream, “It is finished.” But if he remains in the grave, he remains what he is … a fool. However, if he rose from the dead, then he is no fool. Jesus is no fool. He rose from the dead. His resurrection gives meaning to every word that He said, every deed that He did, everything that He claimed to be. On the contrary, disregarding Him would be foolish.
John wrote his gospel with one single purpose: so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31). However, he can only make this statement after he talks about one decisive event in history. In the same chapter, John wrote about Jesus’ resurrection before he stated the purpose of his writing. John is clear: without resurrection, your belief in Jesus Christ is futile. Without Jesus defeating death, the clause ‘you may have life in his name’ will be empty words.
Just before verse 31, John recorded Jesus saying this to Thomas:
Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Friends, if you have believed in Jesus, in His life, death, and resurrection, then you are immensely blessed. Unlike Thomas who had to see and touch Jesus before believing, God has granted us faith so that we can believe even though we have not seen Jesus with our physical eyes.
Of course, the question is this: Do we believe blindly? Do we take the Bible just like that? Is that blind faith?
It is blind faith IF the biblical account is not true. It is blind faith IF it is merely a legend or folk-lore. It is, however, not blind faith when Jesus’ resurrection is a true historical event. When you believe that the ally dropped the atomic bombs onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, it is not blind faith. You believe because it happened. You believe it happened because someone recorded it. You can still cross examine this with the eye-witnesses to the events. You believe that Julius Caesar was one of Roman emperors and that Confucius lived once upon a time because their lives were recorded in the books of history, and many writers attested to the fact that they existed.
Similarly, the Bible is not like other sacred religious books. The Bible is a historical book. Or rather, it is a compilation of historical records written by many authors who documented the work of God in the history of mankind, through the history of Israel, Jesus, and the Apostles. Unlike other sacred texts that contain rules, regulations, and mythologies which cannot be cross-examined, the Bible encourages us to examine its historicity. The Bible contains stories about real people in real places using real tools doing real things. Excavations after excavations and many archaeological projects have attested to the historicity of the Bible.
With regards to the life of Jesus, Golgotha is a real place. Crucifixion was really practiced during Jesus’ time. Pontius Pilate was a real person. Caiaphas was truly the high priest. The garden of Gethsemane was a real garden. Jesus’ tomb (which is now empty) is a real place. It is not easy for the disciples, who were uneducated fishermen, to come up with fabricated stories contained in the gospel. They simply recorded what they have seen. No additives, preservatives and artificial ingredients. They were simply the eye witnesses to the most significant historical event in the history of mankind. We believe in their accurate testimonies even though we don’t see resurrected Jesus with our own eyes. The change in the disciples lives, the empty tomb, the many people whom Jesus appeared to … all of them scream one thing: Jesus rose from the dead. So, we believe that Jesus rose from the dead because it really happened. Blessed are you who have not seen and yet have believed. It is faith. But by no means, it is blind faith.