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March 30, 2013

Were the Apostles Bold Face Liars?

by imreformedbaptist

Were the Apostles bearing false witness? 

An Amazing Transformation

The only explanation for the transformation of the disciples is that they actually witnessed the resurrected Christ. I am referring to their transformation from cringing cowards into fearless preachers. When Jesus was arrested they split. Even after the women discovered the empty tomb we find the disciples in the Upper Room with the doors shut for fear of the Jews. How do we explain how went from shaking in their boots to fearlessly putting their necks on the line boldly proclaiming Jesus as the risen Christ of God?

This is especially highlighted in the case of Simon Peter. When the heat was on during Jesus arrest and trial he denied Him three times.  How do we explain Peter going from that to standing in the midst of thousands of people on the Day of Pentecost proclaiming Christ as risen? The only logical explanation is that he was an eyewitness of the risen Christ. In Acts 4 after the healing of the lame man the religious leaders command Peter and John to stop speaking in the name of Jesus.  They answered and said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God you be the judge for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)

Tradition tells us that most of the Apostles died as martyrs. They died proclaiming to the world that Christ is alive. Have not many people throughout history given their lives for that which was not real and true? Yes. Why then can we not simply put the Apostles into the same category? Because it is one thing for someone to give his life for a lie when his deceived and convinced that it’s the truth. It is another thing altogether for a person to give his life for a lie when he knows it’s a lie. Based on what was presented in the last article, if Christ was not raised then the Apostles the knew it and they died for a bogus story they fabricated. The only logical explanation for their transformation is that Christ is alive.

A Radical Conversion

Saul of Tarsus (the Apostle Paul) was once the church’s most formidable foe. He had no less of a goal that to completely wipe out the church and bury the message of the resurrection. The only explanation for his radical conversion is that Christ was raised from the dead. How so? Well, imagine that the account of his conversion was that at first he rejected the gospel. Then later as he was studying the Old Testament he began to see prophecies of Christ that lined up with what the disciples of Jesus were proclaiming. A private meeting was held between him and the Apostles. He asked them tons of questions. He took what they told him and over a period of months came to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ of God and was in fact raised from the dead. If that were the story then perhaps the door would be left open for someone to claim that the Apostles managed to pull the wool over his eyes as well.

That is not the story he told. He claimed to have met the risen Christ several years after the other Apostles had done so. (1 Cor 15:7-8) His story  was that on the road to headed to Damascus the risen Jesus revealed Himself to him from heaven, arrested him in bonds of love and made him an Apostle. Unless someone wants to claim that he hallucinated then that account means that either he was lying or he really encountered the risen Christ. Once again, we have another powerful proof of the resurrection. Is it reasonable to think that he was headed to Damascus intent on arresting Christians, and then of all a sudden he decided to join with the Apostles and capitalize on the lie? I think the answer is obvious. The only reasonable explanation of how Saul of Tarsus could one moment be seeking to destroy the Christian faith and the next moment he is its biggest advocate is that He met the risen Christ.

Trusting in a Risen Christ,
Pastor JJ
 

 

 

 

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