As Easter quickly approaches, I find my thoughts turning from the COVID19 pandemic and political polarization to the cross and the resurrection. Even in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, I have hope. Not some sort of superficial, wishful-thinking type of hope, but a hope that runs deep through my soul.
But, for many this Easter, they won’t experience such hope. They may have happiness. They may have a positive attitude. They may even have some joy. But hope? I don’t see how. Hope is the central message of Easter. Hope is the reason we celebrate. And we cannot have either without an empty tomb.
Because Christ is risen, we can have hope for the future. Let’s face it—this world is a mess. No matter what side of the political aisle you’re on, no matter what your worldview is, we all see that the world is falling apart. But because the tomb was empty, we have hope.
Before Jesus was crucified, he predicted that he would die and be risen three days later. He also promised that after he rose, he would come back to heal and fix this broken world. He was right about his death and resurrection, so we can trust that he will keep his promise to return. We can trust that the world won’t stay this way forever. We can trust that he will come back to his creation.
But not everyone believes this. I would say that the majority of people don’t believe this. They don’t believe that Jesus rose. Many don’t believe Jesus even died. In fact, many believe that Jesus never existed. It’s not an intellectual problem because the evidence supporting Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection is plentiful and it’s more accessible today than it’s ever been. But it’s from an unwillingness of the heart. They have a heart that doesn’t want to believe.
As Easter approaches, I my heart breaks for all the people who refuse to believe, despite whatever the facts say. People like PZ Myers, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Bart Ehrman. I think of all the university professors, both in secular schools and seminaries, who scoff at the thought of a resurrection to their students. I think of the popular apostates this past year, like Joshua Harris and popular YouTube hosts Rhett and Link. I think of people in other religions who desperately try to earn favor with their dieties, never knowing if they’ve done enough. I think of every single person who denies the resurrection.
And I wonder, “Why?”
Why don’t you want to believe? Why don’t you want to take an objective look at the evidence? Why don’t you want to have hope? Why do you want to hang on to despair, believing that your life is an accident and that everything you do doesn’t have a purpose? Why do you want to believe all that? Because it’s not true!
If that’s you this Easter. if you scoff at the thought of a resurrection, I implore you to take an honest look at the evidence by people who have studied it, especially people who were former atheists who set out to disprove it. Below are are a few free videos from those types of people.
Lee Strobel was a former atheist and journalist who thought Christianity was absurd, and he set out to prove it.
J. Warner Wallace was also an atheist and popular cold-case detective. Here are some videos specifically on the resurrection.
Gary Habermas was a skeptic and now is considered one of the top experts on the resurrection. Here is an excellent resource of him studying the evidence (but it’s only available for a few more days!).