Did Jesus really come back from the dead? 

Part 1 – Challenged to find out

In the 2017 movie, The Case for Christ, an award-winning investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel, is faced with a challenge about Christianity that makes good use of his skills in getting at the roots of a story to make sure it’s true.

The challenge for Lee begins in 1980, after his daughter nearly chokes to death at a restaurant. A Christian nurse saves the girl’s life, claiming Jesus had guided her to that restaurant rather than the restaurant she was planning to go to. Lee, being a self-professed atheist, is not the least bit convinced it was Jesus, but his wife is, and she starts attending the Christian nurse’s church.

Lee wants nothing to do with Christianity, so he’s now faced with his marriage breaking up. Being an investigative reporter he decides he’s going to debunk Christianity to get his wife back, by following the motto on the wall of the Tribune’s newsroom, “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” In other words, don’t just believe something is true, even if it seems obvious; you have to go where the evidence leads you, and stick like glue to that alone.

To debunk Christianity, therefore, Lee decides he’s going to check it out and only go where clear facts and evidence take him. But where does he start? Well, according to a fellow reporter at the Tribune, “Everything hinges on the resurrection of Christ.”

And Paul agrees, 1 Corinthians 15:14, because “if Christ has not been raised our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” So Paul puts out the same challenge: Christianity stands or falls on whether Jesus was raised from the dead, or not. Disprove Christ’s resurrection and Christians could legitimately be called “false witnesses about God that he raised Christ from the dead” (15).

All Lee had to do, then, was prove Christ had not been raised from the dead and he could tell his wife, “your faith is futile” (17), because who, in his or her right mind, would put their faith in something that isn’t true?

And again, Paul agrees, verse 32, because “If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reason, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” Why bother being Christian, Paul asks – and suffering for it too – if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead?…(continues tomorrow)

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