Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Did Jesus really die on the cross? And so what?

Have you heard anyone say, "Jesus didn't actually die on the cross"? I said that myself once or twice, before I really looked at the evidence. This passage describes what happened late Friday afternoon, after Jesus had been crucified.
But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
John 19.33-34
That sudden flow of blood and water was a sure sign that Jesus was already dead. Chest cavity filled with fluid -- he literally drowned up there.

Now I have been thinking lately about the "So what?" question. By this I mean, so what if Jesus really was killed on the cross, or not? What difference does that make to the man in the street? How many people, if you or I walked up to them and said, "Hey, did you know Jesus was actually dead on the cross -- that the story isn't a fake?" would say, "yeah, whatever," and just walk (or run) away?

Just about 100 per cent, right?

So why should you or I care?

To me, it comes down to this. There are two stories prevalent in our culture, two explanations of where the world came from and what will happen in the future. Like I wrote the other day.

How can you tell which story is more likely? Well, if Jesus actually died, and actually was alive a few days later, that's pretty remarkable because it suggests that the mechanistic view of the world (story #1) is false. And if we can accept the gospel accounts of his sayings as more or less reasonable representations of what he said, that's even more remarkable because it means Jesus predicted his death and resurrection.

And if that's the case, it seems to me that just about everything else he said must have been true too. Which is a pretty good indication, not only that story #1 is false, but that story #2 is true.

No comments: