John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

Easter: Fact or Fiction

Jesus was either one of the craziest men of his time for believing that he was (and should be) the center of the universe. Or he was one of the biggest liars of his time. Or he was telling the truth and was God in the flesh. He can either be wise and moral (and be who he claimed to be); or he can be wise or moral (and be just a regular human being).

This issue revolves around an event in history that either happened or didn't.

People came to Jesus one day seeking a sign, and he said, “I’ll give you a sign: the sign of Jonah”. He went on to explain that the “sign of Jonah” would be his death, burial and resurrection. He would go into the grave for three days — like Jonah went into the belly of the whale for three days — and would emerge again from the dead.

The Christian religion is based upon an actual event in human history — something that can be examined and either verified as fact or refuted as fiction.

Either God actually stooped down to live as a man, living a perfect and sinless life, willingly choosing to die in our place as a ransom and rising again to life, offering us the possibility of adoption into his family, offering us a chance at his kind of life.

Or he did not.

Those are our choices. And Christianity claims that the above actually occurred on the stage of human history.

Again, just to be clear, if anyone ever showed up making the claims Jesus made about himself, we would suggest a good therapist and maybe some medication.

But if that person also added the promise, “If you kill me I’ll come back to life after three days,” and then that person actually did come back to life after three days…. Well…then I might go back and re-examine the other things he’d said. I could dismiss him as a nut or a charlatan until he figured out how to beat death. That one ability lends credibility to otherwise incredible statements.

Christians spend a lot of time talking about the death of Jesus. We don’t spend nearly as much time talking about the resurrection of Jesus. But it is the resurrection upon which we stake everything.

Why do you suppose that is? Why do you think we spend more time talking about his death than his resurrection?