A Compelling Apologetic

An “apologetic” is a defense. In Christian terms, it refers to the defending of biblical faith through evidence, logic, etc.

I want to highlight briefly today one of the most compelling apologetics for my money. Now, let’s be clear, an apologetic is not an airtight argument for the trustworthiness of Scripture or the validity of Christ’s death and resurrection. They are reasons, they do not seal the deal (remember it is faith…just like anything else…but that’s another blog post), but when taken together they are compelling reasons to believe.

Here’s the one that has always stuck out to me: most of the disciples were killed for their beliefs. Many objections are put forth to dispute Christianity. Some say that the empty tomb was a hoax, the guards were in on it, or maybe the disciples took his body and hid it. Others claim that when Matthew or others record in their gospels the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, they were simply fabricating these to align with the Hebrew bible.

The question is why would they do any of that? There are always ulterior motives which could enter the picture. After all, these men were devoted followers of Jesus and loved him dearly. They could have lied to save face or gain some other fame or fortune.

But there was no fortune. They didn’t have palaces waiting for them on the Mediterranean, and often they weren’t all that popular. They had very little to gain from lying and nearly everything to lose. Most of these men (different traditions and sources place the number of Jesus’ 12 disciples who were martyred between 10-11) died excruciating deaths because of what they believed and preached publicly. If they had moved the body, if they had lied about what Jesus had done in his life or said in his teachings, why not recant? Why not at least waffle in their conviction at some point in their lives?

The answer is that they actually watched Jesus die. And then they actually saw him walking the earth after the resurrection. These men had been wobbly and unsure prior to his death, quick to argue over who was first in the kingdom and slow to catch on to much of what Christ taught. But all that changed when they saw him rise from the dead.

I’ll end with a quote from Lee Strobel in The Case for Christ:

“People will die for their religious beliefs if they sincerely believe they’re true, but people won’t die for their religious beliefs if they know their beliefs are false. Most people can only have faith that their beliefs are true, the disciples were in a position to know without a doubt whether or not Jesus had risen from the dead. They claimed that they saw him, talked with him, and ate with him. If they weren’t absolutely certain, they wouldn’t have allowed themselves to be tortured to death for proclaiming that the Resurrection happened.”

Is this airtight? Have I just dropped the hammer for all time in the debate over the existence of the Christian God? Of course not. But I find it pretty compelling.

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