Sunday, April 05, 2009

Sunday Quote: John Stott on the Resurrection

"Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection."

- John R. W. Stott


Samuel said...

Does this same reasoning apply to other religions?

"transformation of disciples = evidence for claims."

Brian said...

Hi there Samuel. Welcome.

That is a good question...

"So does this same reasoning apply to other religions?" Mere change of lifestyle or some sort of radical transformation can happen for many false things. That does not establish the truth of the object of their belief. Sincerity or transformation is not unique to the disciples.

However, what is unique to the disciples of Christ is their being in the position to know whether or not Christ was actually raised. They did not (like other religions) believe in something that they only thought to be true -- they believed in something they were in the position to know was either true or false.

The disciples had been completely defeated by the death of their master. They had nothing to gain by trying to propagate a lie that he was risen -- especially when death could have been verified by checking the tomb for a dead body. Most of these men went to their deaths regarding the claim that Jesus was risen.

Also, consider Paul. He was a persecutor of the church. He was radically transformed into an ardent defender of the faith. The skeptical brother of Jesus (James) was in the position also to know whether or not the resurrection took place. Both of these men were unbelievers previously but were transformed because of what they were able to know to be true by their first-hand account.

So I think that Stott's quote here needs to be understood in the context of:
1. Christ had just died and they were hopeless
2. they had nothing to gain from propagating a lie
3. they were in the position to know the truth and verify it
4. those who previously disbelieved were radically transformed into believers
5. they were all willing to die for what they were in the position to know was true or false.

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