easter

The Investigators

Lew Wallace had been a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. A decade later he was a lawyer and trying to become an author. He had come into contact with one of the most famous atheists of his day who had, quite simply, embarrassed him. Wallace was not embarrassed by the two hours of anti-religion he absorbed during that conversation, but by his own indifference and ignorance of that area of life.

In an academic way, that encounter convinced him to study Christianity. Even as a skeptic, he had long enjoyed the story of the wise men who came to Bethlehem after Jesus’ birth. He had even begun a fictional novel based around that event, which he also considered mostly fiction. Now he thought he would carry that story down to the crucifixion which would, in his own words, “compel me to study everything of pertinency; after which possibly, I would be possessed of opinions of real value. It only remains to say that I did as resolved, with results – – first, the book Ben Hur, and second, a conviction amounting to absolute belief in God and the Divinity of Christ.”

Frank Morrison was a skeptic concerning Christianity, and especially the resurrection of Jesus. In the early part of last century, he decided to write a short paper about the last days of Jesus, in order to debunk the most crucial evidence for the truthfulness of Christianity.

As he progressed with his research, he became convinced that Jesus did rise from the dead, and that this truth is the crucial underpinning of the entire Christian religion. Intending to write a paper criticizing Christianity, his research became the book, Who Moved the Stone? The final sentence in the book says it all, “There may be, and, as the writer thinks, there certainly is, a deep and profoundly historical basis for that much disputed sentence in the Apostles’ Creed -- ‘the third day he rose again from the dead.’”

Closer to our own day, a Chicago Tribune journalist and atheist named Lee Strobel began a similar investigation. When his wife became a Christian, Strobel began exploring the historicity and truthfulness of that faith.

Explaining his quest, Strobel wrote, "Some people are more experiential. . . . [coming] from a legal background and journalism background, I tend to respond to facts and evidence. My way of processing my spiritual journey was to ask the question 'Is there any evidence that supports Christianity being true?"

Ultimately, that two-year process convinced him that all evidence led to the conclusion that Christianity is true. As with Lew Wallace and Frank Morrison before him, Strobel acted on that evidence and made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ in 1981.

All of Christianity rests on the foundation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As these three men discovered, those are two factual events. Not because we want them to be true, but because they really happened, just as described in the Bible. That's called reality!

That’s also called Easter, the true Holy Day we will celebrate in just over two weeks.

What does that mean for you?