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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This Should Not Be: A Prayer for Las Vegas

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10)

Tragedy seems insufficient a word to describe what we’re seeing on the news; what so many of our fellow Americans experienced mere hours ago. This should never be. Shootings, whatever the situation, should not happen.

But it did. As impossible as it is to wrap our minds around it, fifty of our people were murdered and hundreds more are wounded. They leave behind families in shock, filled with grief. A community dedicated to providing fun and entertainment now takes a somber moment and reels from the devastation that has taken place.

When tragedy strikes, whether national like this, or personal like the loss of a loved one, we have no remedy but to seek our consolation from the Lord. “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you and you will glorify me (Psalm 50:15),” says the Lord. This is most certainly a day of trouble. Let us call upon the name of the Lord:

“O Gracious and Merciful Lord, You know the plight of Your people. You know we too often have days where we can’t begin to understand. You promise to hear and remember Your people. Hear us today as we cry out to You from a place of sorrow and great sadness. Remember us and grant peace and comfort to the grieving of Las Vegas and throughout our nation. We call upon You to bring justice. We call on you to assuage our fears and calm our hearts. Where there is chaos and violence bring peace and calm. Walk with us through this tragedy so that we may not be lost in dismay nor consumed with hostility. Unify us in support and love for our neighbors who are hurting. Grant us Your great grace to endure what life has given us. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.”

Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy. Amen. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

“When aimless violence takes those we love,
When random death strikes childhood’s promise down,
When wrenching loss becomes our daily bread,
We know, O God, You leave us not alone.” 

(Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 764)