In the next few weeks we will be remembering events. We will be talking about things that happened. There was a man who lived. He did astounding, amazing things. He lived and then he was crucified by the Romans at the insistence of the political leaders of Israel. He was buried. His tomb was sealed and guarded. Three days later women went to the tomb and found the stone which sealed it moved, the guards having fled, and the tomb empty. And then a question was asked, “Why do you search for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen. Come see the place where he lay.” They saw the place. Later they saw him. All of these events happened.
I am stressing that these are events and I am stressing that events are things that happen and I know all that sounds pretty obvious but I think it’s a big deal. Here’s why. When we talk about Christianity we are not talking about beliefs. We are talking about events. We are talking about something that happened. A man died and rose from the dead. That is not a belief. It is an event that happened in the world.
Why does that matter? Beliefs are things you can choose to adopt or to reject. If you want to believe in something called karma, you’re free to do so. If you don’t want to believe in karma, don’t. You’re free to do so. But events do not give you that freedom. The sun came up today. George Washington was elected President of the United States. Both are events. To talk about them as if belief in those events was necessary to make them real is nonsense. This is also the difference between Christianity and other religions. Other religions are based on ideas and beliefs. Muhammed sits in a cave and writes the Koran. Buddha sits under a tree and dreams up wisdom. Both have all kinds of ideas, some of which may be right, others wrong, you get to decide. Christianity isn’t that way. Yes, Jesus taught truths and lessons and we continue to teach those truths today but that isn’t the core of what we are about. He died. Publically. He rose from the dead. You can go see his tomb. These things happened.
The question isn’t, “Do I believe this?” The question is, “Is there any evidence for this?” There is. There isn’t space here for the proofs but know this. It is recorded in Acts 1 that Jesus after his resurrection met with his followers and “gave them many convincing proofs that he had risen from the dead.”
Again, why the emphasis on Christianity being based on events? Because if something happened you have to come to grips with it. That’s the way it is. Jesus rose from the dead. That is the single biggest, most amazing fact of history. That fact changes everything. It’s what makes the “gospel” truly “Good News.”