A (Not So) Brief Defense of Christianity
XI. The Resurrection Demonstrates the Truth of ChristianityIt is no exaggeration to say that the Christian faith rests on the fact of Jesus' resurrection. Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament, said that his entire ministry would be worthless if the resurrection had not taken place. "If Christ has not been raised," he wrote, "then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. . . . If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:14, 17). On the other hand, if Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead, then Paul's message is true, faith has meaning, and we can be freed from our sins.
That's essentially what we have been arguing. It makes good sense to believe in the teachings of Christianity, because those teachings are based on a simple historical fact the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.If Jesus was raised from the dead, then what He said about himself must have been true. When the religious leaders of His day asked for some proof of His authority, Jesus told them that the only proof they would be given would be His resurrection from the dead (John 2:18 19; Matt. 12:38 40). When He was raised from the dead, that proof was provided.
What was proven through Jesus' resurrection? Here are some of the things that Jesus said about Himself, all of which were affirmed by His resurrection from the dead:
"I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst" (John 6:35)."I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM" [a claim to be God himself] (John 8:58). "I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture" (John 10:9). "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" (John 10:11). "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me shall live even if he dies" (John 11:25). "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me" (John 14:6). If these statements are true, then anything that contradicts them cannot also be true. In other words, if it is true that Jesus is God, then anyone who says Jesus is not God must be wrong. If it is true that Jesus gives eternal life to those who believe in Him and that He is the only way to the Father, then anyone who says that there are other ways to salvation must be wrong. How do we know that what Jesus said about Himself is true? We know by His resurrection, which He offered as definitive proof for all that He did and said. What this means is that the statements quoted above demonstrate the uniqueness of Jesus, but they also demonstrate the uniqueness of Christianity. If what Jesus said about Himself is true, then Christianity is true, and any contradictory religious belief must be false. That's not a very popular message in today's pluralistic culture, but the fact is that there are genuine differences between world views. Only one can really be correct. If Jesus Christ was actually raised from the dead, there's little need for further debate. He alone is the way, the truth, and the life.