The surprising conclusion to the story of God’s plan of redemption and the climax of each of the four Gospels, is that “the Lamb has conquered” (Rev. 17:14) — not by military might, but being killed and then conquering death itself!
This is why we can have great confidence in the accounts given in the Bible. Two of the four evangelists (Matthew and John) who wrote Gospels were eye-witnesses to many of the events they describe – particularly and critically – the resurrection appearances of Christ. Rather than appealing to a “trust me when I tell you…” approach, the Biblical writers of the New Testament invite readers to examine the evidence for themselves and consider carefully what they have presented. They do not present their accounts anonymously or in an only share this after I’ve died memoir approach. When the apostle Paul could say that the physically resurrected Christ was seen by up to 500 people at one time and that most of these people are still alive (1Cor. 15:6), he was inviting verification of the facts that he presented (and we have no record of anyone ever refuting Paul’s claim). This made the claims of Christianity verifiable and it therefore makes the further claims of Christianity about a spiritual new birth testable and verifiable today.
¶ Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written 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.
Christianity stands or falls on one major claim – Jesus the Christ physically died and physically rose from the dead. If this claim is false, Christianity is false. If this claim is true, it has profound implications for you and me!
All other religions are founded on private revelations. Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha, claimed to have had a very private revelation of the four noble truths. Muhammed ibn ʿAbdullāh, known to Muslims as the Prophet, claimed to have had a private encounter with the Angel Gabriel and a private revelation that God (‘Allah’ in Arabic) was one and that the Qur’an was his final revelation to mankind. Joseph Smith also claimed to have had a private encounter with an angel called Moroni who privately revealed to him golden tablets inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing a fantastic story of the ancient Hebrews migration to the Americas. But Christianity is public. The miracles surrounding the birth of Jesus (the first Christmas, were public). Christ’s demonstration of miracles, which included – instantly healing leprosy, blindness, lameness, palsy, and raising people back to life, were done publicly. His second greatest miracle, the raising of Lazarus from being dead having been dead for 4 days, was witnessed by scores of people with many of them being sceptics! His encounter with angels and dead saints were seen publicly. His post-mortem appearances were witnessed by those who had seen Him executed by the Romans. At one time, up to 500 people saw the resurrected Jesus – very publicly!