Mickfield Evangelical Church March 2021

Rich Tearle (Pastor) Tel: 710101 (Church Office)  mickfieldec@gmail.com or rich.tearle.mec@gmail.com
For latest service info/times please see the website.
But did it REALLY happen???
This is now our second Easter under the impact of Covid-19. Easter is a crucial celebration for Christians. We focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus. We believe Jesus rose from the dead. A shocking claim for sure, and one that we don’t just accept blindly with no reason. Many people have examined the evidence for the resurrection and have been convinced.
Here are the 6 E’s of evidence for Jesus’ resurrection:
Existence. Jesus of Nazareth was a real human being. If you’d been there you could have met him! The historical evidence is vast. Historians of all beliefs are convinced by it. We have references to Jesus in the Roman authors: Pliny the Younger, Suetonius and Tacitus. We have the Jewish historian Josephus and the Greek author Lucian of Samosata. We also have early Christian references in Papias, Ignatius and Clement. And on top of that we have the 4 early gospel accounts of Jesus life. Each one is built on a ton of actual eyewitness testimony.
Execution. Jesus was definitely dead on the cross! Sometimes people claim he didn’t actually die, and therefore didn’t rise. This is known as the ‘swoon’ theory. But the brutality of Jesus’ treatment, the expert Roman execution, and the medical evidence backed up by modern science, show that he really was dead. The vicious scourging prior to his crucifixion was enough to kill someone.
Empty Tomb. Leaders of all kinds die, and leave a tomb or grave. But Jesus left behind an empty tomb. His body wasn’t stolen, as some claim, because it couldn’t have been. His body was placed in a marked, sealed and double guarded tomb. And even if the disciples had been able to steal the body, why would they be willingly martyred for something they knew was a lie? The most plausible explanation for the empty tomb is the resurrection of Jesus.
Eyewitnesses. When I was at college studying A-level History, the class know-it-all was going on and on about a miner’s strike back in the 1970s. They told us all the details! The tutor waited…and waited. And then finally he said, in his gentle and quiet voice: ‘I know…I was there’. He’d been there. He’d been involved. He was an eyewitness.
There were hundreds of eye-witnesses who met the risen Jesus. Sometimes one or two or a small group. At least once the risen Jesus met a group of more than 500 people. There is no such thing as ‘mass-hallucination’. It doesn’t happen! Many of these people we’re hard-nosed sceptics. They weren’t easily-led. They weren’t stupid. But they were convinced. And many willingly gave up their lives preaching the message that Jesus died and rose again.
Example of Paul. Saul was a religious zealot on a mission to arrest Christians. He hated them. But fast forward…Take a look at his life years later: he’s one of the main early Christian leaders, he’s a church-planter, a Christian author, a pastor-theologian, a defender of the faith. He’s convinced. And he’s changed his name to Paul! What on earth could cause such a dramatic transformation? Simply this: He met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Experience of many. Sensible, educated, reasonable people have become convinced by the evidence. One such man is called Lee Strobel. He was born in 1952 in America. Lee got a Law degree from Yale Law School and became an investigative journalist. And he was a firm atheist. But when his wife became a Christian, annoyed, he decided to investigate Jesus and try to disprove her beliefs. He read many books. He interviewed experts exploring history and archaeology and ancient literature. He tested out the resurrection of Jesus. And he became convinced. He became a Christian. As Lee put it: he was ‘ambushed by the evidence’.
You can read more in Lee’s book: The Case for Christ.
If Jesus rose from the dead, then there is life beyond the grave. And that, is the most important news you’ll ever hear…
Rich T