What to Say to a Skeptic
How can you respond when a skeptic questions Christ's resurrection? Bill Myers and Michael Ross offer some tips.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” —Matthew 28:5-7
Jesus Christ isn’t in the tomb. And get this: The guards are lying on the ground like dead men, and the stone has been rolled away.
Some of the guards get up and race to the chief priests with an amazing story. “There was a violent earthquake at the tomb, and this angel — WHOA! He was bright like lightning and actually rolled away the heavy stone!”
What do the priests do? They bribe the soldiers to lie!
“Tell everyone that you fell asleep and that those pesky disciples stole the body. Above all, don’t even mention the stuff about the earthquake and the angel!”
(Check out Matthew 28:1-15 for the full story.)
For centuries people have acted like those stubborn priests and have tried to disprove — even ignore — the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, if our Lord didn’t rise from the dead, then everything He said and did would be a lie, right? What’s more, anybody can claim to be God — psychiatric hospitals are filled with such misguided people. But to say you’re God and then prove you’re immortal — that’s another matter.
Christ’s resurrection was the proof, the seal of authenticity. And not only have people failed at disproving it, but during their research some have actually become Christians!
Yet the heart of man is often blind. Just look around and you’ll spot lots of skeptics. That’s why it’s important that Christian guys be prepared to talk about the greatest event in history. So read on, and let Breakaway show you how to lay some groundwork for guiding others to the truth.
Let’s take a look at the top three arguments people use — along with some solid answers.
“Maybe Jesus wasn’t really dead, and He just rolled away the stone himself.”
Right. A man who has been beaten, tortured and mutilated for hours is going to lie unattended for two cold nights in a tomb and suddenly find the strength to roll away a 2-ton rock, fight off all the Roman soldiers guarding it, then show up convincing everyone that He has a glorious resurrected body. That would be pretty hard to believe.
And while we’re talking about His body, let’s not forget the blood and water that flowed from His side when the soldier speared it on the Cross. If He were alive, the wound would have spurted red blood. But in a dead body, the blood separates into massive red clots and watery serum, just as John described it. (See John 19:34.)
“Maybe the disciples moved Christ’s body.”
Hmmm, let’s consider the facts: A group of men who have dedicated their lives to a teacher who insisted on truth and honesty are suddenly going to turn into liars and swindlers. And each of these self-seeking no-goods will be willing to face poverty, incredible hardship, torture and even death to perpetuate that lie. Not a chance.
Then there are the Roman soldiers. Considering that they were the best fighting machines in the world, it’s not likely that the disciples could overpower them and knock them all out. But even if they could, why didn’t they hurry and race off with the body before the soldiers came to, instead of painstakingly unwrapping all of the burial clothes and neatly folding the facecloth before making their getaway?
“OK, so maybe the soldiers stole the body.”
Hardly. Think about it: The very people who have been assigned to make sure that Jesus’ body isn’t moved decide to move it. What a neat practical joke to pull on their superiors. Of course, it would mean their execution for becoming traitors, but what’s a little death for a laugh or two?
While we’re looking at evidence, let’s not forget that His resurrection was something Jesus had predicted time and time again. Then, of course, there were all those Old Testament prophecies.
Once we’ve looked at all the facts and carefully examined the arguments, we would need more faith to believe that Jesus did not rise from the grave than to believe that He did.