Social Media is still buzzing over the Presidential Debate, and the argument continues over who should be the next president. One thing everyone should agree on after the debate, we all need to check the facts. Simply search "Fact Check Second Debate" and you can take your pick from Fox News to CNN to the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and then try to separate reality from fiction.
In the first century Dr. Luke confronted us with a "fact check" about an event far more important than the U.S. election in 2016. During an interview that the resurrected Jesus had with two of His followers, Jesus first draws out the important facts about what had happened in Jerusalem Friday through Sunday. Cleopas and the other associate summarize these events for Jesus. (Don't miss the humor and irony of these two men trying to inform the main actor in the events what had happened.)
"Now our chief priests and rulers handed him over to a judgment producing his death. They crucified him. We had hoped that he was the one who would redeem Israel. And besides all this, he has now been dead for three days. And to complicate things, some women from our group astonished us.
They came to the tomb early in the morning (Sunday morning) and did not find his body. They returned to us and added that they had seen a vision of angels. The angels told them, 'He lives!' Some of these women went with us to the tomb, and we found things just as the women said but we did not see him." Luke 24:22-24
Jesus, a first century Jew, was believed by many Jews to be a prophet, and for many, the Messiah who would redeem the Jews.
The Jewish religious leaders rejected Jesus and did hand him over to be crucified.
Jesus was crucified.
He was buried and for three days was in the tomb according to Jewish reckoning. (Friday ends at 6 p.m. - Day One. Saturday ends at 6 p.m. - Day Two, and Sunday begins at 6 p.m. - Day Three.)
Women testified that the tomb did not contain the body of Jesus.
Women testified that angels had answered the question, "Where is the body?" with the assertion that Jesus was alive.
Jesus' male disciples heard the women but did not believe them.
Some of Jesus' male disciples did go to the tomb and like the women did not find the body of Jesus but only the burial linens left behind.
As we look at this list and we track the Story, we have to come up with an explanation for all of this. At this point on the Emmaus Road the disciples agree with facts 1-5. They are questioning 6 and that's why they left Jerusalem.
Today we are still faced with the question whether or not Jesus lives. There were many "messiahs" in this period of time in Israel who made the claims, died, and were forgotten. There's a name that has obviously not been forgotten. You'll hear this name praised on the radio today and used as a cuss word, but one fact is clear. Jesus has not been forgotten, and we need to get the question about His resurrection right.
Jesus Himself challenges us to consider evidence proving that the Jewish Scriptures predicted that their Messiah would first suffer and then enter into His glory.
LORD, from Luke's testimony, to Josephus, to Tacitus, the fact that Your Son died in Jerusalem is clear. This fact means that even if I have bent and altered the facts, You will forgive me, like the guilty thief on the cross. I do need to come clean about what I did - no deflection of blame or explanations of relative guilt. Thanks that You will forgive based upon Your Son's crucifixion.
– Dave Wyrtzen writes a daily devo called Truth Encounter. He served as their pastor at Midlothian Bible Church for 40 years and is now focusing on serving the greater body of Christ. You can check out “Dave’s Devo” for yourself at www.truthencoutner.com and at out Truth Encounter Facebook page or on Twitter.