Christian leaders have been preaching Easter messages for more than two thousand years. In truth, the initial Christian leaders have been eyewitnesses of the Resurrection and their message was, in big element, merely their eyewitness testimony. In the years promptly following the Resurrection of Jesus, the apostles preached in a range of geographic areas and cultural conditions. Wherever they went, they shared the case for the Resurrection. The eyewitnesses constructed their case straight upon their personal individual experiences with the Risen Christ. Thousands of years later, pastors and Christian leaders are nevertheless preparing Easter messages, and the reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts is nevertheless critically significant.
I was interviewed earlier this week by Kevin Boling of the “Knowing The Truth” radio system and we talked about the value of the New Testament gospel eyewitness accounts. As a pastor, Kevin has preached several Easter sermons. He shared a prevalent outline he has utilized on Easter Sundays:
The Resurrection Was Prophetically Predicted
Kevin starts by reminding his congregation of the several Old Testament prophecies connected to the coming Messiah. These prophetic predictions have been fulfilled by Jesus all through the course of his life, ministry, death and resurrection.
The Resurrection Was Credibly Confirmed
The life of Jesus is faithfully and reliably recorded in the gospel eyewitness accounts and these narratives describe the several evidences Jesus offered to confirm His Deity. The miracles, Resurrection and Old Testament prophecies confirmed Jesus’ claims.
The Resurrection Is Eternally Knowledgeable
The history of Christianity is replete with millions of conversion experiences. Believers are continually restored and transformed by the energy of the resurrected Christ. The resurrection is a truth of history and is continually seasoned by these who have trusted in Jesus.
As I listened to Kevin describe the 3 points of his Easter outline, I started to believe about the centrality of the eyewitness accounts and the value of their reliability. Kevin’s Easter message, like all Easter sermons, is dependent upon his second point, the credible confirmation of the eyewitness accounts. If these records are not reputable, Kevin’s whole message falls like a property of cards.
If we can not trust the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus was accurately described by the eyewitnesses, we can not trust the Old Testament prophecies have been definitely fulfilled. If the gospels are elaborate fictions crafted with prophecy in thoughts, the alleged fulfillment of the Old Testament predictions is meaningless. The reliability of the gospels (point two) is essential if we hope to locate Kevin’s initial point persuasive. In addition, if we can not trust the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus was accurately described by eyewitnesses, we can not trust our individual experiences are grounded in truth rather than emotion. If the Gospels are inspiring fictions misrepresenting Jesus (like, for instance, the Book of Mormon), we have no cause to think our transformation is something other than our personal person work or emotional evaluation. The reliability of the gospels (point two) is essential if we hope to locate Kevin’s third point persuasive.
The reliability of the gospel eyewitness accounts is central to just about every Easter sermon. The messages we hope to provide as pastors, Christian leaders, or followers of Christ, are dependent upon Biblical accuracy and reliability. That is why just about every 1 of us ought to take the time to know why these accounts are trustworthy. We ought to be capable to communicate this truth to other people. Let’s use this Easter season to speak about the New Testament accounts as reputable history so we can point to the reality of the Resurrection with self-confidence and boldness.
For far more data about the reliability of the New Testament gospels and the case for Christianity, please read Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates the Claims of the Gospels. This book teaches readers ten principles of cold-case investigations and applies these techniques to investigate the claims of the gospel authors. The book is accompanied by an eight-session Cold-Case Christianity DVD Set (and Participant’s Guide) to enable folks or little groups examine the proof and make the case.
J. Warner Wallace is a Dateline featured Cold-Case Detective, Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, Adj. Professor of Christian Apologetics at Talbot College of Theology, Biola University, author of Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, and creator of the Case Makers Academy for children.
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