To The Disciples Of Jesus?
First of all, the disciples did not expect Jesus to rise
from the dead. Jesus had told them over and over
again that He would die and three days later rise
from the grave, but they did not understand Him.
Once Jesus died, the disciples were eleven fearful
men, hiding, running for their lives. Their leader
was dead and their dreams were shattered.
Yet, within several days after the resurrection
this same group became bold, courageous, and
visionary. So, what caused such a great change?
Well, it wasn't because they had seen an empty tomb.
It was because they had seen Christ alive from the dead!
What would the disciples have to gain by
fabricating a story about Christ’s resurrection?
Let me tell you what they gained.
All but one died a martyrs’ death.
Some were beheaded, others were crucified,
stoned, hanged, burned... all to their deaths,
because they claimed that Jesus was alive and
offered forgiveness of sins and eternal life.
Here is a list of what became of the disciples because
they held on to the declaration that Christ had risen:
Andrew was crucified in Greece.
There are various accounts of how Bartholomew
met his death as a martyr for the gospel; one
being that he was beaten to death with clubs.
The Jewish historian Josephus reported that
James the Less was stoned and then clubbed to death.
John is the only one thought to have died a natural death
from old age. Early Latin tradition says he escaped
unhurt after being cast into boiling oil at Rome.
Jude Thaddeus was crucified.
It was reported that Matthew the tax collector
was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
Peter was martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during
the persecution under Emperor Nero. He was
crucified upside down at his request, as he did not
feel worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
Philip was arrested and cruelly put to
death in retaliation for converting the
wife of a Roman official in Asia Minor.
Simon the Zealot is said to have
ministered in Persia and was killed after
refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
Doubting Thomas preached as far east
as India, where the ancient Marthoma
Christians revere him as their founder.
They claim that he died there when pierced
through with the spears of four soldiers.
James the Great was beheaded by Herod.
Matthias was the apostle chosen to
replace Judas. Tradition sends him to
Syria with Andrew and to death by burning.
If this story of the resurrection were a lie,
they would have known it was a lie. For
them to live a lie is certainly inconsistent
with what we know about their moral lives.
It is true that a lot of people have died for a lie,
but only when they believed it to be the truth.
People do not die for a lie that they know it is a lie.
If the disciples did lie, they were deliberately
deceiving the whole world, but this certainly
is not in line with their teachings and writings
in Scripture, or with the moral conduct they
were telling people to live by. They taught
honesty, integrity and truthfulness.
One reason for the spread of Christianity
in the first century, was the pure, honest,
sincere and truthful behavior of the disciples.
The whole message of Christ is to love one
another, to be kind, and to speak the truth.
Could they have been living a colossal lie?
No, they had seen the risen Christ and
their lives were radically changed!
They went to the world to tell the
"Good News" of Christ’s Love for each
person - of His Death as their substitute,
of His Resurrection that conquered death,
and that HE WAS and IS NOW ALIVE!
He stands ready to give life.
He is THE WAY and THE TRUTH and
THE LIFE to ALL who TRUST IN HIM!