By: Eli Ayala
2 Peter 1:16
“For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
An interesting feature of the Christian faith is that its core central event, the resurrection of Jesus, did not happen in a corner. Jesus was crucified and buried just outside the city of Jerusalem. Think about this for minute. Unlike the religions of Mormonism and Islam, whose founders claimed to have had divine experiences either alone in the woods (Mormonism) or alone in a cave (Islam), the central event of the Christian faith, occurred right outside a major city.
The claims of Jesus’ early followers that he had risen from the dead could have easily been checked and refuted if it did not in fact happen. Christianity would have suffered a vital and fatal blow right at the beginning of its inception. Yet, we are told in the New Testament that the disciples were eyewitnesses to the fact that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. They were so convinced of this truth that they were willing to die for the truth of their claim.
Consider the fact that there are many who would die for what they believe to be the case, but the early followers of Jesus were willing to die for what they claimed to have experience themselves, namely, the risen Christ appearing to them. In apologetic circles this saying is common place, but I think it is still appropriate: “Many would die for what they believe to true, but it is implausible to think that people would die for what they know to be a false.”
This makes the claims of the early followers of Jesus quite unique and worthy of consideration. Jesus Christ made a considerable impact upon the life of his followers, especially through his resurrection from the dead that they felt compelled to spread this message all across the Roman Empire. And to press home the truth of this message, they emphasized that they were not “following cleverly devised stories”, but they were “eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
Take comfort in the fact that the Christian faith and its central event, the resurrection of Jesus, is squarely rooted in historical fact and can be rationally defended. This can act as a buttressing of faith to the believer, and compelling evidence to share with unbelievers.
Be motivated to dig deeper into the factual foundations of your faith so as to be all the more rooted in the truth and prepared to “always give an answer.”