One of the most common objections I hear from skeptics regarding the truth claims of Christianity is, “The stories in the Bible are no different from Aesop’s Fables.” The skeptic insists that the stories in the Bible developed over time, based on myths which were passed along orally over the years until the New Testament was completed. They believe the stories of Jesus and His miraculous healings’ simply evolved over time into what we read today.
How would you respond to a claim like that? As usual, Scripture is not silent on this subject:
We did not follow cleverly devised fables when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
(2 Peter 1:16)
Even secular skeptical historians acknowledge that the Christian church began the year Jesus was crucified (AD 30) in Jerusalem, because the apostles (who were eyewitnesses) were preaching both the crucifixion and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This message did not develop over time. This was not a “legend” that grew and became more fantastic as the years marched by. Peter states that he and the other apostles saw both the crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. These were not fables that the apostles were repeating; they were recording factual accounts of actual events that occurred right in front of their own eyes.
Here is how John explained it:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:1, 3)
One of the most compelling proofs of the truth of the New Testament is the fact that all of the disciples refused to change their stories about the risen Savior. Their unwavering witness caused them to endure great persecution and suffering. While historians debate how many of the original apostles were executed for their faith, we can be certain that Peter, Paul, and James, the brother of Jesus, died as martyrs. Church tradition tells us that of the 11 original apostles (Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus, is not counted among that group), all but John died for their faith. If these men knew that what they were preaching and teaching was a lie, would not at least some of them recanted their “story” in order to save their own skin? Yet not one of them did. Not one.
Most younger readers are familiar with the Prison Fellowship ministry and its wonderful “Angel Tree” outreach to the children of incarcerated prisoners. Many young Christians, however, are unaware that Charles (“Chuck”) Colson, Prison Fellowship’s founder, came to faith in Christ at age 42. Prior to his conversion, Colson was known as President Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man,” who once famously boasted that he would “run over my own grandmother” to help the president. Colson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice as part of the infamous Watergate scandal and served 7 months in federal prison. It was during this time that Chuck Colson placed his trust in Jesus Christ. The old Colson died; he was Born Again (the title of his most famous book). Chuck Colson spoke of how the Resurrection profoundly affected his thinking:
“I know the Resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because twelve men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled twelve of the most powerful men in the world—and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me twelve apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”
– Chuck Colson
Christianity is not a myth, legend, or fable. It is a fact as certain as any fact in history!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!