Evidence That Demands a Verdict
In 1876, after a conversation on a train with the noted infidel Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, General Lewis "Lew" Wallace realized that he had a pretty threadbare understanding of his own faith. Wallace was a Methodist more by circumstances, than conviction. Having listened for some two hours to Ingersoll's audacious, irreverent, and often entertaining attack on Christianity, Wallace got off the train embarrassed at his own ignorance, and indifference to the things of Christ, and the Bible. Ironically, Ingersoll had unwittingly goaded the General into taking a serious look at his faith, and Christianity. After researching the biblical story of Christ, two things resulted in Wallace's life, one, the bestselling book Ben Hur, and two, a resolute and absolute belief in God, and the Divinity of Christ. Just as God had removed the stone from Jesus tomb, God in the case of General Wallace, had removed his blindness to the glory of Christ, and his resistance to the gospel. In reading the gospel story in preparation for the writing of Ben Hur, Wallace came face to face with evidence that demanded a verdict. His verdict was enthusiastically for Christ.
In Acts 1:3, Dr. Luke tells us that Christ appeared to His own disciples with many convincing proofs. The resurrection of Jesus is not a conjuring trick with bones but is one of the best-attested facts in history. 1. There is the evidence of a doctor certified death (Luke 23:44-55). 2. There is the evidence of an empty tomb (Matt. 28:1-7). 3. There is the evidence of fulfilled prophecy (Acts 2:22-32). 4. There is the evidence of many credible witnesses (Mat. 28:1-10; 1 Cor. 15:1-11). 5. There is the evidence of Jesus own words (Matt. 12:39-40; 16:21). 6. There is the evidence of an official cover-up by Jesus enemies (Mat. 28:11-15). 7. There is the evidence of the boldness, and eventual martyrdom of the disciples (John 20:19; Acts 2:14-30; 4:13). There is the evidence of Paul's radical conversion (Acts 9:1-30; 22:5-13). 8. There is the evidence of the switch to Sunday as a day of worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). 9. There is the evidence of the Christian church as a force in this world (Matt. 16:18; 28:18-20). 10. There is the continuing evidence of those who have been born again unto a living hope through Christ (1 Pet. 1:3). Here is evidence that demands a verdict! What is it they say, "None are so blind as those who do not want to see" (Luke 16:31)! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! The facts point to the truth that as Christians our confidence is not misplaced, our forgiveness is not a dream, our suffering is not meaningless, and our death is not the end, but only the beginning (1 Cor. 15:12-20). Christ's resurrection is not a fairly tale, but it does allow those who believe in it to live happily ever after.