Any who would deny the gospel records are surely flying in the face of all historical records. The only question would be , "are the Gospel writers, deliberately spreading lies to propagate the name of Jesus, throughout the world." This is hardly likely as all the disciples, except john, were martyred for the message they preached. John was exiled for many years on the isle of Patmos- he was not there on holiday. What is even more remarkable is that they preached nothing but GOOD NEWS. The gospel is a declaration of the fact that Jesus Christ was and is God's son and God sent him to sacrifice himself to pay for the sins of all mankind.*and God declares that every individual who believes this simple message, God will count their faith as righteousness, and he gives them his holy Spirit, as a seal within them that they have been born again, and have become children of God. * In the Old Testament the Israelites had to shed the blood of animals to atone for their sins, but the fact that they continually came to offer sacrifices, shows that they were always conscious of guilt. But when a person becomes a child of God their faith overcomes their guilt forever. (1 John 1:9) (Heb 7 v.25) This is what Paul writes in his epistle to the Hebrews in ch 10. (read verses 1-3 and especially vv. 11- 14, which says. 11And every priest stands daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. So it is amazing that the disciples lost their lives simply because they preached this wonderful good news. Rather than believe the message, they killed the messengers of peace. But also every christian should note that Jesus prophesied that all who followed him and preached this gospel would be persecuted and many killed. This has happened throughout history. It simply proves that there is a spirit in those who persecute which is different from the spirit in those who are persecuted. If you read the New testament you will note in the Sermon on the mount that Jesus said his followers should love and forgive their persecutors. "To love those who hate you". So which spirit is likely to be of God? We all have to choose which is the best?
The Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Two books are recommended reading for any who want to rid themselves of any lingering doubts concerning this event which is the cornerstone of the christian gospel. They are ‘‘Who moved the stone’’ by Frank Morrison and Josh McDowall’s book on “The Evidence”. Both books were written by agnostics who decided to gather all the evidence there was concerning the Resurrection, thinking no doubt that it was mainly old wives tales. However, both found that in so far as one can judge any historical event there was more evidence for the Resurrection than for the life of Julius Caesar. Only those who start with a closed mind and keep it closed can possibly face the evidence and continue to deny the resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. After the unbeliever has suggested that there were two graves, two bodies, stolen bodies, hidden bodies or whatever, the ultimate proof surely is the people who lived at that time and their actions in the face of these suggestions. 1. Not one of the disciples or followers disclosed where the body was, if it was indeed hidden. 2. Not one woman made any attempt to pay homage or place flowers on any secret grave, and Mary his mother surely would have done so, even as a good Jewess, let alone as a grieving and heartbroken mother. 3. The enemies of Jesus, especially the Jewish leaders failed to produce the body. They propagated a lie that the body had been stolen. There were a lot more people with a vested interest in finding and producing such a body, than the number of disciples, and one has to ask what in the world did the disciples themselves, have to gain by inventing such ridiculous lies. 4. Forty days after the Passover, when the city was filled with the same crowds who had been there at the Passover when Jesus was crucified, 5000 people, yea Jews, became Christians, in believing the message, that their Messiah had been crucified and God had raised him from the dead. Those forty days had witnessed many appearances of the Lord Jesus. He had been seen by five hundred people at one time, (1 Cor. Ch 15) so the word had spread and witnesses abounded by the time the feast of Pentecost had arrived. 5. Finally, and what surely must be the ultimate proof is Saul of Tarsus. A high ranking fanatical Jew, who believed the lie of the Jewish rulers that the body had been stolen. He firmly believed that the disciples and all who believed were heretics and enemies of God and Judaism. He believed he was doing God a service by imprisoning, torturing and even stoning to death those who believed. Throughout it all he found not one renegade. On the contrary he was being faced with the indisputable evidence all the time but his Jewish faith made him disregard it. The last thing he wanted to believe was the Resurrection, but he was too near the evidence to miss it. Finally, on the road to Damascus, temporally blinded by a light from heaven, he saw the Risen Lord himself. After one has suggested that it was a momentary relapse of his stricken or uneasy conscience which played tricks on his mind, one has to recognise what happened to him from then. He did not confer with any of the other disciples, but rather he went away for three years solitary contemplation and then after nine years of preaching the resurrection, he eventually came to face those disciples who had originally preached the message of new life. Finally, he also laid down his life for the sake of the message he preached. There is no way in this world that Saul, or any disciple would have gone to a happy martyrdom on the belief of a lie. James, the earthly brother of Jesus, became the leader of the early church yet before the death of Jesus, he himself was an unbeliever. 6. The gospel records were written too close to the events not to be acceptable as a genuine historical record. The first writings about Aristotle came 1400 years after he lived. In this age now, the historical record of Queen Victoria is being penned 100 years after her death. Mark wrote his gospel some thirty years after the events and the documentation of the events is not tens, not hundreds, but thousands of times greater than that of the life and times of Aristotle and such. No court in Britain on the face of the evidence for the Resurrection, could justly return a verdict of not proven. 7. Who moved the massive grave stone over the door of the tomb. It was guarded by soldiers, who would have been executed if they failed in their duty to protect the grave.
His Appearances after the resurrection;:
1 Corinthians ch. 15 is the classic chapter on the Resurrection. Here Paul lists many of those who saw the Lord Jesus after his death. It is one of the truly great chapters in the whole bible. In the Gospel records we read of his appearances listed as 1. to Mary Magdalene, 2. the ten disciples without Thomas, 3. the eleven disciples- including Thomas, 4. the two on the road to Emmaus, 5. the fishing party in John ch. 21 6. at the ascension.
Here in Corinthians Paul adds; 7. his appearance to Peter, 8. to James his earthly brother, 9. to the five hundred 10. and finally as one born out of due time, but by special appointment, to himself when Saul of Tarsus.
In his day, he was the greatest antagonist against the truth of the resurrection, yet after seeing the risen Jesus he preached the good news of the gospel. Jesus, the son of God, who paid the debt of all our sins by his death. God raised him from the dead as proof and divine endorsement that he was truly His own son. All Paul got out of his new life, was persecution and suffering. Eventually imprisoned for a long time and then beheaded in Rome. Would he have endured all that if he knew he had been lying? If you want to prove to yourself that Jesus Christ is alive then you just have to take three simple steps. 1. Repent. this means to change your mind. Stop thinking how you have thought in the past and begin to think according to what God says about you , when he said " There is no-one who is righteous- No not one"- "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." In fact our deeds bring shame upon the Holy God who created us in his image., and even our good deeds are like filthy rags in God's sight. 2. Believe: God looks for faith. Faith is dependence. You must believe that Jesus is your only way of salvation. He died for your sins. He wants you to receive him into your life and believe absolutely that He paid the debt you owed to God. When you believe in your heart, God will count your faith as righteousness, and and you have a relationship with Jesus as your Saviour. When Jesus becomes your Saviour, he continues to save you for he continually intercedes for you, because his blood has been shed on the mercy seat of the throne of God in heaven. There is only ONE mediator between God and man and that is the man, Christ Jesus. That may all seem like very strange language at first, but if you simply pray to God and ask him to open your eyes, things will change. 3. Be Baptised: Once you begin to believe, you will need to be baptised. This is to show that you have identified yourself with Jesus in his death, burial and resurrection. For now you should believe that if Jesus took your place and your punishment, when he died. Because he took your place, God has accepted what Jesus did as what you should have done. The Bible speaks of us being accepted "IN Him". So you can believe that you were IN HIM, when he died. When he was buried, you were IN HIM, when he rose again, you were IN HIM. and NOW you are still in Him, at the right hand of God, and accepted before God. That is the kind of faith that God desires. We show our faith by how we live., and what we do. When we are baptised we are expressing our faith. You cannot baptise your self, you have to submit your will. In your mind you have repented, in your heart you have believed, and in your will you have been baptised. These three things, mind , heart and will, make up , what the bible calls your "Soul". Jesus came that our eternal soul might be saved. our bodies will perish in the grave. But then our soul will take on a new resurrection body, when Jesus comes again to take his people home from this hostile world The final word is unfortunately a very sad one. Most churches will offer the service of baptism, but not every church will preach the true gospel. There are, and always have been false religions, false gospels, and false spirits. Pray that God will lead you to the right church fellowship, and begin to spread the good news of salvation in fellowship with similar believers in the church that God leads you to. If you read this on line then fill in the form on the home page and we may be able to help you find a good church, near where you live.