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I KNOW He Lives!

Recently, I was interviewed on a radio program called “Standing for the Truth,” based out of Wisconsin. The main topic of discussion was centered around unpacking one of our newest DeBunked videos, It Doesn’t Matter Why You Believe What You Believe … DeBunked! Its key point of knowing why you believe what you believe was focused on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This hit home for me in a very personal way, and I’d like to share it with you today.
You see, at the age of 17, I was asked a question surrounding this tenet of the faith―the reality of the Resurrection―by someone who had seen me live out my faith for almost 12 years; someone who was searching for answers and figured I would have a response that made sense. That someone was my dad. Here’s a bit of backstory before I divulge “the rest of the story.”
Having received Christ as my personal Savior the summer before I turned 5, I’d been praying for my dad’s salvation, learning God’s Word, and growing in my own faith. The night I was asked this question, I had attended an area youth rally at a church about an hour from home. Dad always waited up when my siblings or I were out to make sure everyone was safely home before he could go to sleep himself.

I walked into the living room to let him know I was home and to tell him what a great meeting it was. He stared straight ahead and said, “I can believe that Jesus was the Son of God. I can believe that He was born of a virgin. I can even believe that God sent Him to earth to die on the cross for us. But I CANNOT believe that He rose from the dead. That is impossible. How do you explain that?
As my father uttered these words, I could feel my mind and emotions swirling—“Is my dad really talking to me about God? I’ve been praying for this for so long! Does he really believe all this? How do I answer him? What do I say?” To my shame, I answered what I perceived at that time was THE answer: “Dad, that’s where faith comes in. You have to believe that what God says in His Word is true, and then He’ll reveal the truth to you.” 

That night was a turning point in my Christian walk. Was what I said wrong? No, but it certainly was not convincing or satisfactory to someone who didn’t already know my Lord.

Unfortunately, Dad had nothing more to say that night, and though he attended special church services with us off and on over the following decades, he did not come to know Jesus as his own Savior until two weeks before he passed at the age of 91.
That night was a turning point in my Christian walk. Was what I said wrong? No, but it certainly was not convincing or satisfactory to someone who didn’t already know my Lord. I was dissatisfied with my response and knew there had to be more that I could have said. I’ve often replayed that scene in my head ( as shown in the following section) with what I could and should have said had I known then what I came to know later, though the Lord never gave me that opportunity with Dad again.
Dad, it makes sense that this event is holding you back from giving your life to God. The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ was not raised from the dead, our faith is futile, and we are yet in our sins. That is what separates Christianity from all other faiths. We have a risen Savior who conquered death and the sting of death, and you know why I know He lives and has a wonderful plan for our lives? Here’s WHY: In that same chapter of the Bible, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, the Apostle Paul writes,

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

  • In other words, there were literally HUNDREDS of people who SAW Him in the flesh—many of them still alive when Paul penned these inspired words about 20 years after the Crucifixion! Testimonials of witnesses were not only documented in the Bible, however.
  • First-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus and first-century Roman historian Tacitus also documented testimonials of those who had seen the risen Christ following His crucifixion.
  • The Roman guards tried to cover it up. The fact that the soldiers guarding the tomb were not immediately executed for leaving their post would have been unprecedented. They knew, as did the chief priests whom they ran to and “told ... all that had taken place,” that the disciples could not have moved His body without detection (experts estimate the stone covering the tomb’s entrance to have weighed between 1 ½ to 2 tons). Yet, they conspired together to fabricate such a story.
  • The disciples were transformed! Once Jesus was crucified, the disciples literally ran and hid for fear that they were next. Then, after they witnessed the resurrected Christ and spent time with Him, they became bold evangelists and were instrumental in propagating the message of Christianity around the world. There would have been no logical reason for them to put their lives on the line―and most of them died martyrs―had they not been 100% convinced that they served a risen Savior.
  • Jesus’s resurrection was the central theme of the disciples’ message. As a result, Christianity exploded in the then-known world. People were experiencing God’s transforming power through hearing the teachings of those who had witnessed the risen Christ.
  • James, the half-brother of Jesus, was a skeptic before His resurrection, yet after he saw the resurrected Christ, he converted. He became a leader in the Jerusalem church, wrote the NT book of James, and died a martyr for his belief in Jesus.
  • Jesus’s last physical appearance was to the apostle, Paul, then named Saul, a Pharisee and vehement persecutor of Christ-followers, known as “the Way.” After Saul encountered Christ Himself, he converted to Christianity and became one of the most influential Christians in the early Church. To date, there are no first-century sources that would claim the testimony of the Apostle Paul to be unreliable.
Would this evidence have convinced my dad to accept Christ that night? Only God knows. Did this conversation with my dad challenge me to dig deeper into my own beliefs to understand WHY I believed what I believed? Without a doubt.... The challenge I faced that night led me on a path to personally grasp the message of 1 Peter 3:15 (NKJV), “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.”
If you, like me, want to be ready when asked challenging questions about your faith, I invite you to access hundreds of free resources on our free app. Search for Reasons for Hope on your app store and look for the blue asterisk on the black background.
Before you do that, however, please take a few minutes to watch the DeBunked video referred to above, It Doesn’t Matter Why You Believe What You Believe … DeBunked!, and the very pertinent DeBunked 12: There’s No Evidence for the Resurrection … DeBunked!  Stay bold!
Author Bio:
Holly Varnum, Director of Curriculum Development at Reasons for Hope joined us September 2021 to launch curricular materials to support many of our media resources. With degrees in education, curriculum and instruction, and educational administration, she comes with over three decades of experience in working with teens and adults in camp ministry, teaching and administration, and curriculum writing (A Beka Book, Focus on the Family, and Answers in Genesis to name a few). God has provided her with a well-rounded educational perspective through service in Christian schools, charter schools, public schools, homeschooling, Christian camps, and local church ministry. She has been a classroom teacher, instructional coach, administrator, camp counselor, Sunday School teacher, ladies’ Bible Study teacher, and conference speaker and looks forward to using her passion for God’s truth within the context of Reasons for Hope.

Her hobbies include cooking and baking, hiking, camping, travel, and working on do-it-yourself projects. Holly and her husband, Paul, also enjoy any time they can spend with their three grown daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandchildren (so far!). They live in the beautiful state of Maine, and yes, eat lobster (properly pronounced “lobstah”) whenever they get a chance!
To learn more about Holly, or to book her as a speaker for educational, ladies', or girls' events, click HERE.

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This book is a perfect introduction for learning critical thinking skills to identify and avoid succumbing to “post-truth” ideologies. Discerning truth from error is one of the most powerful weapons believers can arm themselves with when it comes to pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (1 Peter 3:15; 2 Corinthians 10:4–5). Click HERE to pre-order yours today!
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We are excited to share many of our Creator’s Fascinating Facts with you and to train and equip you with knowledge—knowledge that will enable you to have a ministry in a zoo setting, sharing God’s amazing design with those who may never have heard anything but an evolutionary perspective. This resource comes with FREE access to a lesson guide with quizzes and an oral presentation rubric for those who choose to use it as an academic unit study. So click HERE to order for yourself, your children, and your grandchildren!
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