Commentary by Jack Kelley
It used to be that the world laughed at Christians for our beliefs. Now I think it’s time to return the favor. I say that because it’s utterly laughable what non-believers are running after in their increasingly futile effort to deny the existence of God. And these farces seem to peak during the Christmas and Easter Holidays.
This time around we were shown the fossil remains of a 375 million year old fish. It has a bone in its forward fins that “scientists” have identified as the missing link to show how land animals evolved from the sea. No mention of how it avoided suffocating as over many thousands of years its gills were slowly discarded in favor of lungs.
Then there’s the Gospel of Judas, lacking any reference to either crucifixion or resurrection, but saying that Jesus whispered the secret knowledge necessary to attain eternal life into Judas’ ear as a reward for betraying Him. Upon receiving it, Judas immediately went out and hanged himself. Hello! Why do you think they called it the Gospel of Judas?
And how about the FSU professor who postulates that there could have been an unusual weather condition on the Sea of Galilee one night that might have frozen a patch of water right under the Lord’s feet as He began His walk out to the disciples’ boat? While the good professor was careful to say that he wasn’t presenting this possibility to explain the miracle, and while no one has ever observed this phenomenon, the incredible press coverage his “discovery” received tells you just how desperate the world is to justify its unbelief.
The funny thing about this one is that if He had wanted to the Lord could have orchestrated just such a situation, and it would have been an even greater miracle. Think about it. A patch of water gets cold enough to freeze solid even though the water all around it doesn’t. Jesus steps onto this patch and finds that it’s strong enough to support Him. Without rudder or sail, He maneuvers it against the wind to the middle of the lake and comes right up along side the disciples’ boat, allowing Peter to step out onto the ice. (Peter must have accidentally stepped off the edge while moving toward the Lord, or maybe there was a hole in the middle of the ice patch.)
While the research of ancient weather patterns apparently shows that during two periods of time between 2500 and 1500 years ago it could have been cold enough for that to happen, I’ve never seen any documentation that any part of the lake actually did freeze during the three years of the Lord’s ministry. The article I read didn’t explain what historical record was used to confirm this ancient weather information, but the Sea of Galilee is 690 feet below sea level and today they grow bananas and other tropical fruit along its coast.
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Cor. 1:18)
All this to avoid believing that the God Who created everything out of nothing became a man. Not just any man, mind you, but the humblest of men, the supposed son of a poor Jewish carpenter in a predominately Gentile region of Israel.
When He reached adulthood He began telling the people of Nazareth about His real Father, the one in Heaven. He told them how He and His father loved them so much that He had agreed to die in their place, thereby paying the penalty for their sins, so that they could dwell in His Father’s house forever. Their initial response was. “Isn’t this Joseph and Mary’s son? How did He get so smart?” When He chided them, they got mad and tried to throw Him off a cliff.
As He traveled into neighboring towns the response was usually more favorable and He began to perform miracles, healing the sick and crippled, restoring sight to the blind and even raising the dead. More and more people began believing what He said.
Eventually He ran afoul of the authorities and they arrested Him, sentencing Him to death in a midnight trial. Though He hadn’t done anything wrong, He let them execute Him, just like He said He would. Earlier, He had said that anyone in the entire history of man who believed that His death would pay for their sins would inherit eternal life, and now as He hung on the cross dying, He asked His Father to forgive those who killed Him.
If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)
Three days later He appeared again, in the flesh, as if it had all never happened, and after He returned to His Father in Heaven over 500 eyewitnesses could testify to His victory over the grave. He told His disciples to spread the word that anyone who believed that He had died for them and had risen again would experience an identical victory.
Over the next 40 years or so four accounts of His life were written, differing in details to suit their different audiences, but agreeing in their essential message. God became a man and dwelt among His people. He died for our sins and rose again to signify that His death had been sufficient. Everyone who believed this would inherit eternal life, irrespective of merit or worthiness. Furthermore, this was the only way to get it.
Together, these four accounts are called the Gospel, or Good News, and that it is. There’s more than enough documentation to validate their authenticity beyond any reasonable doubt, but there have always been some who would grasp at even the flimsiest of straws to avoid having to admit that they’re true, as evidenced above. The Gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing.
Because of Resurrection Morning, we who’ve often been laughed at and called the losers of the world will soon emerge as the greatest winners of all time. But it’s not that we deserve much credit for it. The Lord did the hard part. All we did to receive the unimaginable blessing of eternal life is believe the obvious.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance, that Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Cor. 15:3-4)
So we accepted the simplicity of the Scriptures and settled our eternal destiny forever, while the world continues to search for something, anything, that will justify denying it.
In a little while we’ll all disappear into eternal bliss, while the unbelieving world staggers blindly into the worst period of judgments since time began. But having been divested of our sin nature, and given the wisdom of the ages in its place, it will no longer occur to us to look down upon them and ask, “Who’s laughing now?” Selah 04-15-06