Who Is He?

Who Is He?

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

This weekend, Easter weekend, I’ve been pausing every so often in my daily activities, thinking about what it may have been like in the Jerusalem area of Israel some 2,000 years ago. The historical records are there, and have been confirmed and validated by innumerable archaeologists and others of the scientific and historic literature sort as genuine and worth consideration as accurate & truthful. Something happened all of those years ago that brought birth to a movement that has survived over the centuries, and grown & flourished in all parts of the world.
That movement has given us orderly societies, the rule of law, a moral compass, schools, hospitals, adoption services, and many other social service entities. It has changed the world view of countless millions of people. And it has brought hope, peace, and love to a world wallowing in despair, anger, and jealousy.
I know there are those who pooh-pooh the whole thing. They have their own archeologists and their own scientific wizards who say just the opposite. And they have elaborate theories about why this or that could not possibly be the way it was back then. They talk of collusion among the authors of any material that might talk of anything out of the ordinary. But I submit that they have far less evidence…evidence for their theories than others do who believe that something wondrous happened then.
There is no question, except in the minds of those who embrace “alternative facts,” that there was a man who lived in the ancient Roman empire, in the environs of what is now Israel, whose name was Jesus. There is no question that this man was seen as someone different…someone special…someone who attracted great crowds to hear what this Rabbi had to say. There is no question that this man Jesus attracted the attention of both the Roman authorities as well as the Jewish authorities because of his teaching and his work. And there is no question that because of his teaching and work, the authorities took it upon themselves to eliminate him, hanging him on a Roman cross.
The great question always comes in what happened after that. Are his bones still buried somewhere in Israel? Or did they somehow have life returned to them after about three days in the tomb, never to die again?
Yes, I know it’s a fantastic proposition. But belief that it really happened gave rise to a movement that endures, grows, and prospers even today. Even today, in the world of Facebook, the Internet, space travel, and instant oatmeal, people believe the story. People who are sane, sober, intelligent, and quizzical believe the story. And their lives are changed because of it.
And for those first believers…those who, it is said, saw the risen Jesus…those first believers endured torture and unspeakable cruelty because of their faith. Of that, there also is no question. Would all of these people endure what they endured for what they knew was a lie? Would they go to the cross themselves for what they knew was fake, phony, and totally dreamed up by a few of his followers in some kind of dastardly scheme?
And what of those writings that we KNOW were written hundreds of years before all of this happened that talk of the very events in a way that give one pause to wonder just where it was these writers got their inspiration? How was it that those writers knew in advance about all of the things that would happen…and happen they did just as it was foretold? Do we dismiss those writings as mere coincidence? Do we choose again the “alternative facts” that do their best to obfuscate and change the subject to something more palatable? How do we deal with that?
And where is this man now? Is he still wandering around on the earth somewhere? Or did he really rise up into the air and was “taken into the clouds” one day about 40 days after his death and burial? Did he really send the Comforter to be present in a real way with his followers? Will he really return some day to “judge the quick and the dead?” What about all of that?
The answers to those questions will have to wait, I suppose, until they either do or never happen. But we will know, one way or the other, upon our own demise. There either is or is not an afterlife. There either is or is not a God. There either is or is not a heaven. There either is or is not a hell. And we will, indeed, know. Or we will cease to exist in any form, and it won’t matter.
So, what about you? Have you carefully weighed the evidence? Have you done your research? Have you observed, thought, and have you pondered the meaning of life? What answers do you have? What about this man Jesus? Who is he?

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