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As we are reminded again of the sufferings of Christ on the Cross, we need to consider the question: Who is responsible for the sufferings of Christ? As we read the Gospel narratives, or as we see the crucifixion of our Saviour depicted by The Passion of the Christ film, we have to ask the question: Who killed Jesus?
1. Do we blame the Roman soldiers? Certainly, they crucified Him.
2. Surely though it was the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who was responsible? He alone had the power to enforce the death penalty, it was he who, as a magistrate of the Roman Empire, declared: "I cannot find any reason to condemn Him" John 19:4; "I find no reason to condemn Him" John 19:65; "I find no reason to condemn this Man" Luke 23:4. Yet, Pilate bowed to pressure and condemned an innocent man for political expediency and popularity.
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“Which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the Resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:2-4
Careful Investigation is Encouraged
There is nothing wrong with being cautious and careful when it comes to eternal matters. Indeed, there is much in the world that we should be skeptical about. We should not be gullible. There is far too much superstition and ignorance in the world. We should carefully investigate and establish what the facts are. We need to have the courage to face the facts.
Faith in Facts
Christianity does not require one to make a blind leap into the dark. False religions require blind faith. Christianity is an intelligent step into the light, in response to facts.
"And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the Resurrection from the dead."
The Bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is tremendously important. Death is man's greatest enemy, and it has conquered all men - but Christ. Cities and nations, like people, are born and grow for a season, and then fade away. Homes, clothes, even vehicles, wear out and eventually go back to dust, just as do their owners.
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One God in Three Persons
Christians believe in the Trinity because there is only one God. “Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.” Deuteronomy 6:4. “Before Me there was no god formed, neither shall there be after Me.” Isaiah 44:6
Because the Bible clearly teaches that the Father is God, that the Son is God and that the Holy Spirit is God, Christians are compelled to accept that God is eternally existent in three Persons. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that there is only one God, eternally existent in three Persons.
"And declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the Resurrection from the dead." Romans 1:4
Who Moved the Stone?
The Resurrection is so important and foundational to Christianity that it has been targeted for the most relentless attacks. Frank Morison, a lawyer, determined to disprove the Resurrection and thereby undermine Christianity. The result of his exhaustive investigations was his conversion to Christ and the publication of his book: "Who Moved the Stone?"which decisively demonstrates the overwhelming evidence for the Resurrection.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." 1 Peter 3:15
The motto of the Scouts is: "Be prepared" Similarly, we as Christians must be prepared to answer those who would ask us to explain what we believe, and why we believe.
One of the great Church Fathers, Augustine of Hippo, in Confessions, wrote concerning God: "You have made us for Yourself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in You."
One of the most famous atheists of the 20th century, British philosopher, Bertrand Russell wrote: "Why I am not a Christian." When he was asked what he would say if it turned out that there was a God after all, Russell replied that he would ask the Almighty: "Why didn't you give us more evidence?"
This prompted a reaction from science teacher and author Ken Poppy that Russell "seems to be positioning himself in case he needs to shift the blame to God for the not being more convincing. (Hmmm. Did he never see a bright moon setting in the blue western sky while the sun rose circular red through the eastern clouds? Did he never hold a newborn baby?)"
“I would never become a Christian! Look at all the hypocrites in the church! Look at all the scandals of tele-evangelists, the Health and Wealth preachers, the Name it! Claim it! Frame it! Hyper-faith prosperity preachers, two-faced frauds and conmen! I don’t want to be part of hypocrisy!”
Humanist and atheist, Bertrand Russell, wrote in Why I am Not a Christian: "Man is the product of ... accidental connections of atoms ... no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thoughts and feeling can preserve an individual life beyond the grave, and ... all the labour of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system. The whole temple of man's achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruin. All these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy that rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair can the souls' habitation henceforth be safely built."