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Day 5: Living Daily in Reality: Resurrection?

by Ernest O'Neill

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If reality is that we were made inside the only son of our Creator, then the human being that we identify with him must have power over life and death. But only Jesus of Nazareth has credibly demonstrated that ability to die and come back to life. Many fakirs, spiritualists, and con men have claimed to do this, but none has the kind of public and documented testimony that surrounds this phenomenal event which split our history into B.C. and A.D.. Mohammed was a prophet, Buddha was an inspired teacher and example, but Christ was the only son of the Maker of the universe and was the being inside whom you and I were created. But WAS he the one human being who had power to overcome the power of death ?

All the contemporary witnesses of his life attest to the facts that he had power to die, to leave the earth, and to return and live here for several weeks. The two vital facts are the empty tomb and the various appearances. The usual imaginative alternatives have never stood the test of simple logic. If the disciples had stolen the body, why would they then have died for a lie and allowed their wives and children and friends to be persecuted and executed for what they knew to be untrue ? People will die for what they think is true, but they will not die for what they know to be a lie.

If the Romans or the Jewish leaders had stolen the body, why didn't they parade it through the streets in order to quell this troublesome Christian insurgency that was destroying their society and their religion ? If Jesus had simply swooned and been unconscious, how could he revive enough to roll back the heavy stone from the grave - and - more than that - how could he, with open wounds in his side and his hands call up enough energy and strength to appear in thirteen different places miles apart over a period of more than a month and give an appearance of being more alive than ever before ?

It's the same kind of logical impossibility in the argument about the resurrection appearances. He was just a ghost, but he not only walked through walls, but he ate fish and told sceptical Thomas to actually put his fingers into the holes in his hands and said, "a ghost does not have flesh and blood as you see I have." Perhaps the women AND the men had hallucinations. But hallucinations have well-known psychological attributes - they occur in people who have a somewhat emotional and tentative character - the big, practical fishermen don't fit that characterization.

Hallucinations occur normally among people who want and expect something to happen - the disciples had given up any thought of Jesus rising from the dead and expressed their disappointment. Hallucinations usually occur over a long period of time at lengthy invervals; Jesus' thirteen appearances occurred over a relatively short compact period of about a month and then ceased completely. Hallucinations are usually seen by one person on their own, but Jesus appeared to groups of people - on one occasion 500 people at one time. The truth is that the explanations for the resurrection are more difficult to believe than the unprecedented fact itself.

Because of this demonstrated power over death and because of his ethically faultless life and profound grasp of truth, this man was recognized by the leaders of the world as the divine son of God, and in 325 A.D. belief in him became the established religion of the Roman Empire and our very dates and time came to be measured as before and after his birth.

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