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My wife and I watched the movie Risen the other night. All things considered, we thought it was a helpful film for Christians, at least. Two things stood out to us. First, the film reminded us how faithless the disciples were about what Jesus had plainly told them.

I trust you can relate, if you’re a Christian.

The second helpful thing was how crazy it would have seemed for people to believe that a dead man was walking around and alive, if you hadn’t seen him yourself. That’s when you look at the one who is proclaiming such a thing and say, “Yeah. Uh, huh. Wow. How about that?”

Giving voice to such a reality would make it seem like you are crazy, deluded, simple-minded, or some combination of the three.

However, to disbelieve that reality is an understandable reaction for a thinking person, and it is what Paul encountered when he spoke to the very rational Greeks about “a man” who came back from the dead.

“‘Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.’ Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, “‘We will hear you again about this’” (Acts 17:29–32). 1

Crazy talk—talk that will result in you getting mocked. Christians will look irrational and foolish to their hearers.

And that’s just the way God wants it, because Paul also wrote, concerning the cross, “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

The Lord may do the most foolish thing possible from our perspective, and it will still be wiser than the wisest thing that we could do. He may perform the weakest act possible from our point of view, and it will be stronger than the strongest feat that we could accomplish.

And, this is what He did when He did the weakest thing known to man—dying—and thereby the most powerful thing imaginable—the salvation, adoption as sons, and eternal life for all the lost, shame-filled, sinful people of the world—which is everybody.

We have a friend in our neighborhood who is a deist. When I write “friend,” I mean it. He’s fun to talk to, honest, and I have no doubt he would come to our aid if aid was needed. He believes that some power—maybe God—created the universe, but he can’t come to the place where he believes that Jesus is the Savior of everyone or that He was God-in-the-flesh when He walked on the earth. We have spent hours and hours talking about life and God, and I’ve brought up what I thought were concise and clear scriptures. However, he stated at one point after we’d had a few discussions that he did not think that Bible was a trustworthy document. How could I proclaim the truth to a guy who doesn’t trust the document that Christians rely upon for truth? So, I had a problem. What did I have left? Was I holding a revolver with an empty chamber, so to speak? Was I out of ammo?

No. A lot of truth remains.

Primary among those remaining truths is the historical evidence of the resurrection, which is what I told him: “You still have to deal with the fact that the tomb is empty.”

Yes—that crazy, foolish truth. That wild reality that we have never seen but believe in faith.

Another is the certainty that the Holy Spirit is at work when we share biblical truth, even when it not specifically quoted chapter and verse (John 16:7-11).

Really—how else would it be possible for someone to believe something so outlandish if he or she hadn’t seen it?

More on that next time.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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