It is difficult to keep a miracle a secret let alone a raising from the dead when the body ought to have been stinking. The crowd who witnessed Lazarus clothed in wrapped burial cloths walking from his own grave were hardly likely not to mention it to anybody. Crowds were packing the streets of Jerusalem with people from all over the empire as well as those born in Israel. There was a groundswell of amazement, fascination and belief in Jesus. The Chief Priests were more than worried they were terrified that the crowd’s interest in Jesus might be interpreted as a religious insurrection and their own lives would be in danger if the Roman authorities decided on a clampdown. Their own hearts were hardened against Jesus as they saw him as a threat, one who undermined their laws rather than fulfilled the law of Moses. They acted as many in authority have and still do act when they feel threatened, they decided to do away with the evidence. ‘So, the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.’ John 12.10,11
Unlike Jesus, many in authority substitute unsupported assertion for evidence. This feels particularly relevant in the aftermath of the USA presidential election but it is far from limited to the political arena. Jesus had repeatedly given the chief priests and Jewish authorities signs as to his identity and his purpose. Their response was to threaten, punish and destroy evidence. Professor Lennox along with many modern apologists (defenders of Christianity) argue that many scientists who oppose Christianity do so because their world view stops them objectively considering the evidence. Their hearts are hardened and so they dismiss reasonable possibility as being possible. We see this in some non-believing theologians who argue that prophecy that foretells the future is impossible, so if a prophecy has come true as in Daniel’s prophecies, then the prophecy was written after the events not before even when there is excellent evidence that dates the prophecy prior to the events. Their world view prevents them from objectively considering the evidence.
What then should the modern church do? We should equip ourselves with the reasonable evidence and make it known. This can be done formally in terms of books, videos, films and talks. It can also be done at a more personal level where Christians in natural conversation are able to give sound reasons for their faith.
As a church do we equip our fellowship with a clear grasp of the evidence that supports such beliefs as the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
Have we thought through how we would justify our faith to anybody who asks?
Turn your eyes – Lauren Daigle