Belief In Jesus No Matter What?

A critical question every Christian should ask themselves is this: is there anything that would make you not believe in Christianity? For many, the answer is at the ready before the question can fully be asked. “No!” they say, “There is absolutely nothing that can ever make me not believe!” As faithful an answer as this may seem, it’s not a very good one.

Conspicuously before us is one matter that should make any Christian pack it up and never return to a church. If Jesus isn’t raised from the dead, there is absolutely no point to the Christian faith. Sure, you still have the really good teachings and morality of Jesus, but if He isn’t raised from the dead, He’s an out-right liar and should not be trusted. You see, the resurrection from the dead is the linchpin argument upon which Jesus staked His claim! Did He support the claim? If He skipped out on it; if the tomb of Easter wasn’t actually empty; if the disciples or some random gardener did break in and steal the body; if Jesus is still dead and buried somewhere, then the Christian faith is vain and every poor sap who’s ever been taken in by it deserves complete pity.

So did He? Did Jesus actually rise from the dead? We have the four Gospel accounts from Easter morning. We learn that the tomb was sealed up as well as it possibly could be to prevent tampering and theft of the body inside. We also learn that armed guards were stationed at the tomb to keep watch and prevent any kind of tomfoolery that could lead to people thinking Jesus was actually raised. All four Gospels tell the story of a tomb surprisingly open and miraculously empty. What’s more, Jesus body was found later that day! Alive! Jesus – living, breathing Jesus – was seen later that day by most of His disciples, several women, and a couple guys on a walk home to Emmaus. They spoke with Him. They touch Him. They saw Him with their own eyes. Again and again, for forty days, Jesus spent time with them fully alive! At one point He was even seen by 500 people! There is no doubt from the evidence that Jesus is alive!

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:17-20)

For the one who would doubt Christianity, this is the point with which he must contend. The claims and miracles and teachings all must first be measured against the truthfulness and trustworthiness of the Man. Did He do what He said He would do? Is Christ raised from the dead?

YES!!

Because Christ is raised from the dead, everything that He said is true and all that He did is for you! His death was died in your place. His resurrection is the guarantee of your eternal life. His promises of forgiveness, mercy, peace, and life are trustworthy! Jesus Christ is most certainly raised from the dead! Christianity stands or falls on this point. Christ lives! The church stands! Christ lives . . . for you!

Dear Jesus, you live! Today I come to you thankful for your trustworthiness and for calling me to saving faith by Your Holy Spirit. Keep me in this true faith; bring others in as well. Amen.

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When Babies Cry In Church

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14)

On Sunday, I was offering the prayers of the church on behalf of the congregation. Sometimes it’s pretty quiet during that time as those in attendance are listening carefully and adding their ascent to each prayer. This past Sunday, it was not quiet. In my left ear there was a baby crying. In my right ear there was a baby crying. From somewhere behind me there were two or three other young children crying. To the cacophony of noise was my voice, crying out the pleas and petitions of our congregation to our gracious and merciful Lord. It was beautiful!

I love the sound of little voices in church. Small people who come because their parents know and place a premium on the value of what Jesus offers us – ALL OF US – in that place. Small children rattling papers and ruffling hymnal pages while trying to do what mom and dad and grandma and grandpa are doing. Faithful youngsters who bravely discuss the faith with pastor during our children’s messages. Confident little Christians who may not get all the words right, but put their heart into praying the Lord’s Prayer together with the congregation.

I even love it when the children get bored. Tired of what has to seem to them the droning on of a long-winded preacher. Who plop down in frustration when they just can’t take it anymore. I love it because they’re there. They’re right where Jesus would have them be. Climbing up on His holy lap and listening as well as a child can. I love the sounds of children in church, not because they’re the future church (although they are that), but because they are the present church joining together as best they can with the rest of the church. As loud as it can sometimes get, I absolutely love the cries and shouts and screams and even the occasional tantrum because in a real way, that’s exactly what we all have to offer our Lord. Our tears, our shouts of “unfair”, our fears, and even an occasional tantrum. Jesus never kicked a child out of His presence, but instead lauded them as the example of greatness.

Our children come, just as we adults do, into the presence of Jesus. We have nothing to offer Him. We simply have the sins we’ve committed, the hurts we harbor, the anger we’ve buried, the sadness we’ve hidden, and little more. As a baby is dependent on her mom and dad to take care of her and teach her, so we depend on our Father to hear and love us.

So I say let the little children come . . . and let them cry! Let them raise their voices! Little loved voices from little loved people. Sinners, like you and me; forgiven by Jesus, like you and me! Let us in fact join our voices with the cries of the babies in church as we cry out for mercy and forgiveness from our Lord for the sake of Jesus Christ.

Merciful Father, hear the cries of all your children. Thank you for hearing us and welcoming us into your presence through Jesus Christ your Son. Amen.