Apr. 20, 2019

Subject: The Historical Resurrection of Jesus Christ, Part 1: The Only Hope for Mankind

John 14:19 “Because I live, you will live also.”

Ed Croteau

In 1920, Konrad Adenauer was President of the Prussian State Council, making him one of the most influential politicians in Germany. When Hitler took power in 1934, the Gestapo removed him for his position as mayor of Cologne, later arresting him for his involvement in the attempt to assassinate Hitler.

In September 1949, Adenauer was elected Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. By 1952, West Germany was no longer under military occupation, and in 1955 it was again recognized as a sovereign nation, joining NATO in 1955 and the European Community in 1957. Adolf Hitler’s Nazism had been totally obliterated. He spent his time rebuilding Germany after World War II, focusing on forging closer ties with USA and France and arranging a compensation with Israel to publicly apologize for the Nazi crimes against the Jews. Before retiring in 1963, he invited Billy Graham to meet with him. Here are Graham’s words.

“I was invited to have coffee one morning with Konrad Adenauer before he retired as the Chancellor of Germany. When I walked in, I expected to meet a tall, stiff, formal man who might even be embarrassed if I brought up the subject of religion. After the greeting, the Chancellor suddenly turned to me and said, ‘Mr. Graham, what is the most important thing in the world?’ Before I could answer, he had answered his own question. He said, ‘The resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is alive, then there is hope for the world. If Jesus Christ is in the grave, then I don’t see the slightest glimmer of hope on the horizon.’

Then he amazed me by saying that he believed that the resurrection of Christ was one of the best-attested facts of history. He said, ‘When I leave office, I intend to spend the rest of my life gathering scientific proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.’ It was the fact of the resurrection of Christ that called the disciples to go out as burning young revolutionaries to change the world of their day. They preached that Christ is alive. This should be our message every day of the year.” Adenauer, like many people today, have been convinced of the supremacy Jesus Christ by the historical fact of His resurrection from the dead.

Professor Simon Greenleaf, Royall Professor of Law and one of the founders of the Harvard Law School, is still credited with being the greatest expert on American jurisprudence (the science or philosophy of law by which any case is judged by the evidence). His famous work, ‘A Treatise on the Law of Evidence’, remains the standard by which American jurisprudence is taught at universities today around the world.

Greenleaf is equally known for his expertise in the development of the Christian school of thought known as legal or judicial apologetics, where the same canons of evidence and argument as applied in our legal system are applied in defending Christianity. In his famous book, ‘The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice’, Greenleaf argues for why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most well attested facts of history, based solely on the evidence.

With the four Gospels as his basis for examination, he explained that “the veracity of the testimonies contained in the Gospels was demonstrable by internal and external examination (i.e., by examining the consistencies and resolving the paradoxes contained between them, and by comparing the Gospel accounts to corroborating works of other known writers of the time, such as Tacitus, Josephus and Suetonius, etc.); and that the most plausible, the most reasonable, conclusion to be drawn therefrom was that Jesus Christ not only lived and died, but that he arose again from the grave.”

In chapters 13-17 of the Gospel According to John, John records what Jesus taught them before they left for the Garden of Gethsemane where He would be arrested. Chapter 14 begins with these words from Jesus: “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” Verse 6 is the famous verse where Jesus makes sure not only His disciples but the whole world understands that He is the only way to eternal life: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

In our verse this week, Jesus explains why, as Konrad Adenauer, Billy Graham, Simon Greenleaf, and millions of others have testified, Jesus is the only hope for mankind – He would rise from the dead: “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more (His crucifixion), but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also (His resurrection)”. His historical resurrection is God the Father’s promise to us of eternal life when anyone trusts their life to His Son Jesus Christ. This is why we celebrate this Easter weekend.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.