Why is it that two people can look at exactly the same evidence and can come to completely different conclusions about it? Even more puzzling is how two equally qualified scientific experts can look at the same data and utterly disagree about what it means. This happens many times in court cases where the prosecution will call their “expert witness” to give his or her professional opinion to verify that the defendant is guilty only to have the defence to present their “expert witness” who gives his or her professional opinion as to why the prosecution’s expert witness was wrong and to prove that defendant is innocent! This at least illustrates why it is not always the quality of the evidence that leads a person to accept or reject a claim. This especially apply to the claims that Jesus Christ made. Of the four accounts in the New Testament written about His life, three of them were written by eye-witnesses and the other one (Luke’s) was written by someone who interviewed many eye-witnesses. It is with interest that we turn to the last one to be John’s Gospel, where he describes dramatic proofs that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Yet despite these otherwise inexplicable proofs that at times thousands of people witnessed, many still wouldn’t believe. But it seems among those who did believe they all had one thing in common.
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!