Many in the secular-progressive world doubt that the resurrection of Jesus Christ ever happened at all, claiming that his followers simply made it up. Think about it. If the Bible’s accounts are to be believed more than 500 people saw Jesus after the resurrection over a 40-day period. Even the secular writer and historian Josephus, who lived in Israel during the time of Jesus, confirmed that Jesus was seen by many after his death and resurrection.
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say Jesus’ followers made that one up too (about seeing him after the resurrection). Why then would virtually every follower of Jesus allow themselves to go through the most horrific of deaths imaginable — if they made it all up? Every one of them was either dismembered, crucified, boiled in oil, stoned to death, or beheaded and they want us to believe they went through all of this over a lie? If they made up the resurrection story every one of them would cough it up in a minute if they were going to be subjected to such terrible deaths. “Oops, sorry. We made it all up. Please don’t kill me.)
Would you die — for something you knew to be a lie? Let that one sink in for a minute. You are now James (James the Greater), and you know the whole thing’s a big lie. You and the others made up the story about seeing Jesus after the resurrection because you wanted to give some meaning to your miserable lives. When he was about to be crucified you all scattered like scared rabbits and now your leader is dead, and following a dead carpenter wasn’t exactly something to brag about. It was all an invention and the Jews were right – you guys had stolen the body. Now you’re standing before Herod Agrippa (true history), who tells you that unless you deny Jesus he’s going to have a big man with a big sword remove your head from you. Here’s your chance to save yourself . . . “Sorry, don’t cut my head off — we made the whole thing up!!”
NO – you will not renounce Jesus – BECAUSE YOU DID SEE HIM AFTER THE RESURRECTION – and you realize that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Nothing that man can do to you compares with what awaits the believer.
There is convincing evidence that there are more martyrs today than at any time in history, and these believers also refuse to renounce their faith in Jesus even though they will be put to death if they don’t recant and deny their faith in Christ. Instead, they allow themselves to be executed even though, unlike Jesus’ followers more than 2,000 years ago, they’ve never seen the resurrected Jesus! Here’s what Jesus had to say about them when he spoke to (Doubting) Thomas, “Because you have seen me you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen me but still have believed.” (John 2:29 NIV).
It is quite possible that there are some today, even some that read this message, who will lose their head before they deny Christ. All of these martyrs, both past, present, and future, know that Jesus and His kingdom are more important than life itself. They’re convinced that whatever they have to go through – including having their head cut off – is WORTH IT – because they await . . . The Prize.