The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 4/13

Posted on | April 13, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 4/13

Scripture reading: I Corinthians 15:12–19

The Linchpin

Stop doubting and believe. (John 20:27)

 

linch·pin noun \linch-pin\ 1. A locking pin inserted in the end of an axle to pre- vent the wheel from slipping off. 2. Something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together.

 

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the linchpin of Christianity. Remove it, and the wheels come off! If someone could prove they had discovered the bones of Jesus of Nazareth in a tomb in Israel, the Christian faith would crumble like a house of cards. The Gospel would be exposed as a pious fraud at best or a malicious hoax at worst. No one has stated the matter more succinctly than the apostle Paul: If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless (I Cor. 15:17).

So if I were the devil, I’d do all in my power to attack this doctrine, knowing that if I could pull this pin out of the axle, the wheels would come off the Enemy’s bus and I’d win! I would cause people to associate Easter with spring vacation so that they would be at the beach rather than at church when the dreaded day arrived. But if they went to church, I’d make sure they went to one that believed in a generic deity (the blob god) whose sovereign purpose for the universe was to say at the end of the day: A good time was had by all. Easter Sunday would be a sentimental rite of spring associated with positive thoughts and images of balloons, rainbows, egg hunts, and bunny rabbits.

If I were a skeptic, needing to reinforce my certainty that everything was uncertain, I would not waste time attacking Christian beliefs and practices of secondary importance. I’d go for the jugular. I’d concede that the “Jesus of history” was a nice fellow who inspired many by his exemplary life and acts of kindness. But he died young, bless his heart. The “Christ of faith” was the imaginary creation of religious zealots in the first century who made up stories about a mythical figure who conquered death. I’d smile condescendingly at those uneducated rubes who take literally the bodily resurrection of Jesus. “How unscientific,” I’d smirk.

But if I were an honest seeker, I wouldn’t waste time studying world religions and philosophies or examining doctrines and religious practices. I wouldn’t even spend much time listening to the testimonies and experiences of others. I’d go to the linchpin issue, the core of the matter. There is only one thing I would want to know: Did Jesus rise from the dead or not? I would not sleep until I knew the answer. Everything hinges on this. Everything! I’d study the evidence until I knew whether faith was plausible and intellectually viable. If the evidence led me to dismiss the resurrection of Jesus as a non-event, then I’d throw away my Bible and walk out of church never to return. However (and here’s the rub), if the evidence for the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was such that faith became a viable intellectual option . . . if the doctrine was plausible . . . then I would (hope- fully!) do the same thing that doubting Thomas did when he was confronted with the historical reality of the risen Christ. I’d fall on my knees and say, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).

 

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile

and you are still in your sins.—Paul, in I Corinthians 15:17

 

point to ponder A dead Jesus means Christianity is a lie. A living Jesus means that every other religion is a lie.

prayer focus Those in your circle of friends who do not yet know Christ.

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