“A faith without some doubts is like a human body with no antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask the hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic. A person’s faith can collapse almost overnight if she failed over the years to listen patiently to her own doubts, which should only be discarded after long reflection.” – Tim Keller
For most Christians, the phrase “sometimes I doubt” is an accurate statement as much as it is a true confession. We doubt a lot of things, from insignificant things like I don’t believe a face cream will make me look 20 years younger to more important things like my teenager is not telling me the whole story. A degree of doubt is certainly normal and healthy, but not if it means doubting our faith. Doubt can be negative, but doubt can also deepen our faith.
If you are having some doubts, think of the Easter story. Think of the early Christians and how their doubts pushed them toward the Lord, rather than away. And think of Paul, the most unlikely convert, who penned these words over 2000 years ago: “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter[a] and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him.” (I Corinthians 15:3-8).
Many have tried, unsuccessfully to prove the resurrection is just a myth. Some have tried to prove it scientifically. Others have let their imaginations get the best of them by proposing elaborate theories to explain away the disappearance of Jesus’ body.
Those who are skeptics of Jesus’s resurrection think that religious people are too quick to accept reports about miracles. But was this the case among Jesus’s apostles concerning the resurrection?
The New Testament describes a remarkable and enduring transformation of Jesus’s disciples. These frightened, defeated cowards after Jesus’s crucifixion soon became bold preachers and martyrs. They grew courageous enough to stand against hostile Jews and Romans, and never recanted what they saw even when facing torture and death. Such an amazing transformation cannot be based on myth or a conspiracy. Certainly perpetuating urban myth would not be worth dying over. The disciples attributed the strength of purpose and character to their direct, personal encounter with the resurrected Jesus. In Jesus Christ’s resurrection, the apostles found their reason to live—and die.
If Jesus Christ actually rose from the dead—and there is plenty of good evidence that He did—then all of His followers who know Him as Lord and Savior will also rise to eternal life on the last day.
- What do you consider to be the strongest evidence for Jesus’s resurrection?
- How would you order the evidence in making a cumulative case?