No one had ever raised themselves from the dead before.
Yet, after Jesus was crucified and buried in a borrowed tomb, 3 days later his tomb turned up empty. The Roman soldiers who had been assigned to guard the tomb of the itinerant Jewish rabbi, returned to the temple leaders and exclaimed what they had seen. They were given a large sum of money as a bribe and told to tell no one, but instead spread the rumor that Jesus’ disciples had come and stolen the body in the dead of night while they were asleep. (Matthew 28:12-15)
Anyone who could raise themselves from the dead must be God.
Lee Strobel, was a Legal Editor and an Investigative Journalist for The Chicago Tribune. In 1980, he was also a devout atheist, and had been since he was a teenager. He’d studied law at Yale, and believed that since he saw no proof of a god of any kind, there were therefore no inherent morals and virtues, and so lived accordingly, in hedonism.
His wife, Leslie was an agnostic, and several years after their marriage, met a woman who lived in the same housing complex, who was a follower of Jesus. The two of them became friends, and Leslie began to attend church with her new friend, where she became a devout Jesus follower.
After telling Lee, he became very antagonistic toward her and her newfound faith. So much so, he began a series of investigations that led him on a 2 year journey throughout the world to disprove the fact Jesus rose from the dead, since a Christian friend had told him if Jesus hadn’t raised from the dead, the Christian faith was nothing.
Jesus’ resurrection means everything.
Lee used his training as a lawyer and a journalist to cross-examine experts and written accounts of the resurrection, looking at the historical, personal, and medical records, as well as eye witness accounts of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. He investigated both biblical and non-biblical sources. After 2 years of scrutinizing the evidence, Lee came to the conclusion that not only the death and burial of Jesus were irrefutable, but also the resurrection itself.
He also concluded, unlike the rabbis long ago, if Jesus rose from the dead, he must be God as he claimed. If he was God, then he must be worshiped as God.
He states in the video, upon confessing Jesus to be who he said he was, he saw no change in his life. However, he shortly thereafter read a verse in the Bible:
John 1:12 (NIV)
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
He realized that he must not only believe Jesus is God, but also receive the gift Jesus offered him of forgiveness and a new life. Belief must be accompanied by action.
He then confessed his own rebellion against God (sin) and made the choice to receive Jesus’ gift of life and forgiveness. He said that immediately he knew he was forgiven of his hedonistic lifestyle, and his life was altered forever. He goes on to say, that his and Leslie’s decision changed not only their lives, but also the course of their entire family.
Lee’s story is recorded in the movie “Case For Christ” as well as in his book of the same name. Below is a video (about 40 minutes long) of his story of turning from a devout, atheist to a follower of Jesus Christ. As with the movie of Josh McDowell (on a post last week), this video is well worth watching. Their stories are very different, but their transformations equally profound.
Jesus died to pay for our rebellion against God. He rose because God accepted his sacrifice. Because he rose from the dead, he defeated death, and sin once and for all. Anyone who can do that proves that they have the power to give life. He’s proven who he is and what he is able to do.
The real question is, “What will you do?”
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT)
I would love to hear your comments about the two videos this and last week. Thank you so much for coming to the table.
With much love and prayers,
p.s. A thank you for the interview with the Strobels on “Christian Media Magazine“. Through their article, I was able to obtain some of the information needed to complete this post.