Morison reviewed the evidence he had discovered:
• Jesus' death is a well established fact of history
• Jesus' heavily guarded tomb was discovered empty
• Over 500 eyewitnesses said they saw the resurrected Jesus
• Jesus' disciples proclaimed he rose at the cost of their lives
• Christianity's sudden rise is evidence Jesus' resurrection was real
With myth, hallucination, and a flawed autopsy ruled out, with incontrovertible evidence for an empty tomb, with a substantial body of eyewitnesses to his reappearance, and with the inexplicable transformation and impact upon the world of those who claimed to have seen him, Morison became convinced that his preconceived bias against Jesus Christ's resurrection had been wrong.
He began writing a different book—entitled Who Moved the Stone?—to detail his new conclusions. Morison simply followed the trail of evidence, clue by clue, until the truth of the case seemed clear to him. His surprise was that the evidence led to a belief in the resurrection.
In his first chapter, "The Book That Refused to Be Written," this former skeptic explained how the evidence convinced him that Jesus' resurrection was an actual historical event. "It was as though a man set out to cross a forest by a familiar and well-beaten track and came out suddenly where he did not expect to come out." 36
Morison is not alone. Countless other skeptics have examined the evidence for Jesus' resurrection, and accepted it as the most astounding fact in all of human history.
Paul the apostle was also a skeptic who formerly had persecuted Christians. Later, he saw the risen Christ and was converted. In his letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul cites a creed dating to within a few years of Jesus' death, proving that the very first Christians believed in his resurrection.37 This early Christian creed reads,
"Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said."
Paul also testifies to the Corinthians that the risen Jesus was seen by hundreds of eyewitnesses, including himself. Paul lays out this eyewitness testimony to the Corinthians,
"He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all…I also saw him." 38
As Morison concluded, the only rational explanation for the all-out commitment of Paul and the other apostles is that they truly believed Jesus had risen. That conviction is best stated by Paul in these words: "If Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world." 39
As Paul argues here, the only reason he and the other apostles were willing to endure torture and martyrdom was because of their firm conviction that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. That conviction in the resurrected Christ assured them that when this life was over, they would have eternal life with him.
Do you have that same hope spoken of by Paul? Do you have assurance that after you die you will live again with him? Jesus said that you can. He had much to say about what happens after we die, and how his death and resurrection can bring meaning and hope to each of us.
Find out what Jesus said about life after death at Why Jesus? Is Jesus relevant today?.
The Jesus of Christmas: Who was the baby in the manger?
So who was the baby in the manger? The answer to that question is the most important one in all history. For if Jesus was not who he claimed to be, his promise of eternal peace is empty. But if Jesus was who he claimed to be, then our lives can have no meaning without him.
Why Jesus? Is Jesus relevant today?
Although other philosophers and religious leaders have offered their answers to the meaning of life, only Jesus Christ proved his credentials by rising from the dead. Jesus offers life with real meaning. He said that life is much more than making money, having fun, being successful, and then ending up in a graveyard. Yet, many people still try to find meaning in fame and success, even the greatest superstars…
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