This is an excerpt from Pastor Mark’s new book “Alive: 21 Reasons to Believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” as we count down to Easter. To get your physical copy, CLICK HERE to give a gift of any amount in the month of April to RealFaith to help us get more Bible teaching out. For a FREE digital copy, CLICK HERE. Thank you in advance for your generosity to help us tell more and more people about Jesus.
Luke 24:52-53 – And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.
Reason #9: Jesus’ followers remained loyal to Him.
On the day that Jesus died, three men were crucified, yet two thousand years later only one has a global movement of devoted followers willing to die as martyrs. Why? Only Jesus died and then rose from death.
Historian Kenneth Scott Latourette says, “It was the conviction of the resurrection of Jesus which lifted his followers out of the despair into which his death had cast them and which led to the perpetuation of the movement begun by him. But for their profound belief that the crucified had risen from the dead and that they had seen him and talked with him, the death of Jesus and even Jesus himself would probably have been all but forgotten.”1
It was not easy to be a Christian in the first century. Christians were mocked, opposed by the godless government, and tasked with the organization of an entirely new movement that was intrinsically counter-cultural. The New Testament after the Gospels tells the story of the leaders and events of the early church, and nearly all of its authors were killed for the sake of Christ. In many cases, the stakes were high and earthly rewards low, meaning that if Jesus’ followers stuck with Him even after He resurrected, they must have had some sort of evidence that He truly was God.
- Kenneth Scott Latourette, A History of the Expansion of Christianity, 7 vols., The First Five Centuries (New York: Harper, 1937), 1:59.
Read Acts 6-7 for the story of Stephen, one of the greatest known martyrs of the Bible, whose murder was approved by Saul, who later became Paul and one of the greatest proclaimers of the gospel in all of history.
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