Why does Christ seek the lost? He says, "'Here am I, here am I'" (Isa 65:1). "The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God" (Ps 14:2). "There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God" (Ro 3:10). No one tries to find out because "every one of them has turned aside; together they have become corrupt" (53:3). They "walk in the way which is not good, following their own thoughts" (Isa 65:2). They "became futile in their speculations, and their foolish hearts were darkened" (Ro 1:21). Therefore God took the initiative saying, "'I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people'" (Isa 65:2). "Not knowing about God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God" (Ro 10:3). Consequently "I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek me" (Isa 65:1). Today we see "the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Lk 19:10).
When I was younger I tried to figure things out because it was a matter of survival. Just accepting was inadequate since only being fat, dumb and happy wasn't the answer. Someone once told me that his secret was just not worrying about it. However, I grew up during the cold war where a capitalist was good and a communist bad. But they're both people, though if you don't know what makes them tick, you might be taken advantage of and not survive. It could be how society programs you. So once I attempted to neutralize thoughts to prevent being programmed. I mentioned it to someone and her response was "people don't do that." Then I concluded that the more you knew the more successful you'd be. Instead of just accepting what you observed you'd have to comprehend it. Scientifically things are composed of atoms and molecules. Electrons, protons and neutrons are in everything and objects only differ by their arrangement and resulting characteristics. I thought of a glass, soft drink container and concluded that it was just my brain, senses, and experiences telling me what it was. Then I would have to accept my decision. That container could be a glass to hold liquid to drink. But what if it contained dirt to hold a flower? At that point you'd pretty much have it figured out. However, the store clerk where you were purchasing it had the right answer. You set it upside down with the rim on the table. Then little objects they also sold could be placed on the top for display. One teacher explained that you can't understand everything that the Bible says so you just have to accept it. But how do you know what you decide is true or not? "A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (1Co 2:14). If you need the Spirit to comprehend scripture, but don't have the Spirit because you haven't experienced salvation, then it is a "catch-22" and you need a way to comprehend the gospel initially. It is revelation by "faith which comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Ro 10:17). The Greek word rhema defines it as the Living Word of God himself speaking. Jesus told Peter "flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven" (Mt 1:17).
"Since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen" (Ro 1:20). Truth is reality being "understood through what has been made" (:20). The process of observation requires that the five senses be used. It means you can look up at the stars and understand about God. Paul phrases it as knowing about God as opposed to personally knowing God. Thinking predicates reasoning which includes deciding if something is true or false. Then with an open mind you choose by believing in the best alternative. It involves wrestling with various possibilities until the one with the highest probability of being true wins out. But when "that which is known about God is evident within them" (:19) it was God who "made it evident to them" (:19). Jesus told Pilate "'for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth'" (Jn 18:37) for which Pilate asked, "'What is truth?'" (:38). At that level it is absolute certainty and a revelation to their conscious understanding. "With the heart man believes" (Ro 10:10). Nonetheless "they exchanged the truth of God for a lie" (1:25) and "their foolish heart was darkened" (:21).
Mankind has been given a general revelation or moral sense. They "do instinctively the things of the Law, these not having the Law to themselves" (Ro 2:14). "They show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness" (:15). However the people did not conduct themselves correctly. But "in the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways" (Ac 14:16). "In the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed" (Ro 3:25). Nevertheless they are sins. The "Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind being darkened in their understanding" (Eph 4:17-18) having "given themselves over to sensuality" (:19). But the message of general revelation does not spell out a plan of salvation. "Having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring that all people everywhere should repent" (Ac 17:30). He "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Ti 2:4). Paul said, "I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief" (1:13). The Gentiles sinned "because of the ignorance that is in them because of the hardness of their heart" (Eph 4:18). But he is "patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2Pe 3:9). "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do justly?" (Ge 18:25). "'He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already" (Jn 3:18). "'The one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging will receive but few'" (Lk 12:48). "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Eze 33:11). "When we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world" (1Co 11:32).
There's a popular interview show on TV where I heard the host say the most common consideration of his intelligent, well-informed guests was "What is consciousness?" Consciousness can be equated to thinking, but at a deeper level it relates to existence. People have questions about life pertaining to asking the who, what, when, why and how of existence. If God "made it evident" (Ro 1:19) then it is an undeniable objective standard. It is composed of a priori, self-evident axioms. These are self-authenticating first principles from a primary source which are logically universal, foundational and determinative. Instincts have foundations as God gave them to all creatures in order to survive. It can be said that they exist at the subconscious, psychological and subjective level. But there is a higher level of thinking involved with making decisions. They "exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image" (:23) and "did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer" (:28). "They are without excuse" (:20). Therefore "choose for yourselves today whom you will serve" (Jos 24:15).
Consciousness is awareness. In one respect there is a constant link with the unknown as if querying to discover answers. In a sense it is instinctual as a survival mechanism. But it is not continuous cerebral questioning. Deists believe that reality can be determined by human reasoning. Philosophically a person develops a worldview that is perceived as reality. Consciously and unconsciously a coherent and consistent framework is created in building a worldview. Presuppositions and assumptions are applied. However, normative customs can become truisms and tradition. But feelings, intuition and common sense do not necessarily arrive at truth. Also, personal opinion and experience must be substantiated. Therefore, in order for a worldview to be valid it must inherently adhere to the laws of logic. In addition, it must externally agree with the laws of history and science. Furthermore, it must satisfy human emotional and spiritual needs on a universal level.
In the age of reason, Descarte was suspicious of reason itself. What is a cognitive thought? Does it need specific content to qualify? However, when that mechanism isn't generating certain thoughts it is still self-aware. Therefore if we are conscious of our thoughts then consciousness is at a higher level than thinking. He said that if thinking could doubt the veracity of something, the reasoning was in the context of the existence of a higher entity responsible for the faculty of thinking in the first place. The well-known quote of his conclusion is "I am, I exist" for which a cognito has been created saying "I think, therefore I am." Apparently with that he was satisfied with who he was. Moses asked God for a name and he said, "'I AM WHO I AM'" (Ex 3:14). God isn't like Descarte whose identity was in his thought. He says "'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no god besides Me'" (Is 44:6).
Worldviews can be mutually exclusive if not diametrically opposed. Which one represents the truth? In our society it is not politically correct to criticize one worldview at the expense of another. Pluralism recognizes many worldviews as being valid at the same time wherein each is relative to its source (relativism) and tolerance enables all to be successfully globally (globalism) combined. But what if a belief leads to a false reality and it becomes self-destructive? How, then, do you judge a religion on its correctness when basically it is a belief in a set of ideas? How do you evaluate something which is subjective or psychological or simply based on hearsay? You can study their holy books but it all depends on how they're interpreted, and in many cases, the doctrine is based on the testimony of a founder which is comprised of a personal experience. Usually adherents don't attempt to prove the doctrine and you are just supposed to accept it because it is a spiritual and emotional matter. There are approaches one can take. Rationalists believe there is a starting point that everything else becomes relative to. Humanists believe that man is supreme and whatever someone believes his starting point is works for him. However, this method is subjective and opinions easily conflict with each other such that there is no agreement and there is chaos. Then if society itself sets a standard it is no longer relative and becomes an absolute itself. Religious pluralism attempts to keep everyone happy by proposing that each religion represents a piece of the puzzle and together they all comprise the whole truth. But how do you reconcile monotheism which believes in one God and polytheism's many gods? Also, how does Christianity's personal God fit with the New Age's universal consciousness?
One person counted 1,200 operating religions in this country alone. They all can't be right. Is it man's imagination that directs him? You would think that a human being's thinking would usually lead in a logical direction. "Who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (1Co 2:11). "God made it evident to them" (Ro 1:19) but I suppose you then have to think about it to decide. If they reject the revelation then "professing to be wise, they became fools" (:22). "As he thinks within himself, so he is" (Pr 23:7). "They are without excuse" (Ro 1:20). "Just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind" (:28). We've received "the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God" (1Co 2:12).
Paul asks, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?" (Ro 10:14). He's concerned that "surely they have never heard, have they?" (:17). Isaiah even asks, "Who has believed our message?" (Isa 19:4). However, in Romans 10 Paul quotes "their line has gone out through all the earth, and their utterances to the end of the world" (Isa 19:4). An old question in church circles is "can the heathen be saved?" It's based on what happens to far-flung peoples who have never had the chance to hear the gospel. But Paul's reference seems to say that one way or another everyone gets the message. Paul said he was "not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes" (Ro 1:16). "In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth" (Ja 1:18). Scriptures "have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ" (Jn 20:31). It is "the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation" (Eph 1:13) and the "living and enduring word of God" (1Pe 1:23). "All scripture is inspired by God" (2Ti 3:16) and "if any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching whether it is of God" (Jn 7:17).
A responsible person should at least evaluate all the possibilities. If its not possible then why even consider it? It comes down to proving that it is true, but how do you do that with absolute certainty? God "furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead" (Ac 17:31). Proof is an adequate degree of certainty about something arrived at by accumulating an amount of evidence which would satisfy a competent, unprejudiced mind. Reasonable people in ordinary situations would judge this. To call it true the results would have to be reliable beyond a reasonable doubt. Even though the conclusion might not be mathematically certain it will have a high chance of probability. It will be predictable and the result can be regularly demonstrated. Finally, faith is required to substantiate the premise.
The author of a Christian apologetics book believes that Christianity can be substantiated by relying on internal laws of logic and external laws of history and science. The scientific method starts with a hypothesis or premise of what is believed to be true. It can be tested and the results observed. Natural phenomena produce responses and natural laws are descriptions of them which results in a tentative acceptance based upon a predicted result reliably occurring. Active certainty is not claimed but the chance of the premise being correct is strengthened by the preponderance of the evidence supporting it. Inductive reasoning organizes the evidence such that the accuracy of the historical record can be determined and facts can be verified. Archaeology has continued to support Biblical descriptions and history has documented fulfillment of prophecies. Consequently the external inconsistencies of some religions create false realities.
Firsthand witnesses in the Bible minimize questionability by primary source material being cited in the New Testament. Also the time between the events themselves and when they were recorded was very short leaving negligible chance for error. Peter cites "we are witnesses of all the things He did .. [and] they also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross" (Ac 10:39) whereby we were "witness of the sufferings of Christ" (1Pe 5:1). A witness testifies in court. Jesus substantiated his responsibility saying "'the very works that I do testify about Me, that the Father has sent Me'" (Jn 5:36). Furthermore, "'If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works'" (10:37). They were "signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples" (20:30). Peter witnessed that it was "'Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst'" (Ac 2:22). John "is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things" (Jn 21:24). "These have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ" (20:31) and to know "that his testimony is true" (21:24).
It was so convincing that they "convened a council, and were saying, 'What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. If we let Him go like this, all men will believe in Him!'" (Jn 11:47-48). Even John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to Jesus asking, "'Are You the Expected One?'" (Lk 7:20). One's faith is challenged because it was the same John where "the next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!'" (Jn 1:29). Jesus answered, "'The blind receive sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have the gospel preached to them'" (:22). "God raised Him up on the third day" (Ac 10:40) and he "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Ro 1:4). It was granted that He become visible not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand" (Ac 10:40-41). "We did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty" (2Pe 1:16). John testifies "what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life" (1Jn 1:1). "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One" (Ac 10:42). "After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now" (1Co 15:6).
What is our so-called "world view?" Jesus told the Jews, "'You are of this world'" (Jn 8:23). There are the facts of life. Paul says "if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either" (1Th 3:10). It is a matter of survival. However, Jesus told his disciples "'you are not of the world . . . [because] I chose you out of the world'" (Jn 15:19). Which side then are you on? Is it just survival of the fittest, or is there another way? It is a matter of perspective. "Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1Co 15:31). "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth" (Col 2:3). But you still have to exist. However, "'your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things'" (Mt 6:32). The most common translation of the word "prayer" in the Bible is to make requests of God. Jesus taught regarding prayer to ask, "'Give us this day our daily bread'" (Mt 6:11). Paul refers to God's promise to provide for our needs by saying "my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus" (Php 4:19). "Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above" (Ja 1:17). So "'seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you'" (Mt 6:33). Paul instructed "be anxious for nothing, but . . . let your requests be made known to God" (Php 4:6). Jesus said, "'Do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself'" (Mt 6:33). He said, "'If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it'" (Jn 14:14) because "'everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds'" (Lk 11:10). The promise is for believers who "trust in the Lord . . . and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Ps 37:3-4).
Is an unbeliever justified in saying, "I didn't get the message so how can I be held responsible?" It's as if they are answering, "'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty . . . [etc.]'" (Mt 25:44). This is at The Judgment so it isn't an incidental matter. "When" is the crux of the situation. How is the knowledge received? To Paul it was "not according to man" (Gal 1:11) but "through a revelation of Jesus Christ" (:12). He even "went away to Arabia" (:17) where he learned. "They are without excuse" (Ro 1:19). At the judgment Christ will explain that if you were not righteous to others in your normal life "'you did not do it to Me [and] these will go away into eternal punishment'" (Mt 25:45-46). Therefore "the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men" (Ro 1:18). God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1Ti 2:4). The wrath is against the sin in man because they "suppress the truth in unrighteousness" (Ro 1:19). The truth "known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them" (:19). It is evident because it was made clear and visible. "His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen" (:20). It is clearly discerned so as to have come to be mentally recognized and known. Having been "understood through what has been made" (:20) affirms that a person's awareness, thinking and perception confirms that truth. Therefore "they knew God" (:21). But "they did not honor Him as God or give thanks" (:21). "'Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?'" (Ge 18:25). Just because the unbeliever might not have read these scriptures does not mean that in the same way that Paul was taught God has not reached him by revelation.
He "rebuked the wind . . . and it became perfectly calm" (Mk 4:39) and they asked, "'Who then is this?'" (:41). "Those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, 'You are certainly God's Son!'" (Mt 14:33). Later Jesus cleared things up and they replied, "'now You are speaking plainly . . . and we have no need to question You; by this we believe that you came from God'" (Jn 16:29-30). God makes it plain to you. When they "saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, they became very frightened and said "'Truly this was the Son of God!'" (27:54). The demonstrations had a purpose but many were skeptical. Jesus explained, "'If I do them, though you do not believe on Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father'" (Jn 10:37-38). Later he exclaimed, "'He who believes in Me, does not believe in Me but in Him who sent Me'" (12:44). They had heard his teaching and seen his miracles. Jesus said, "'He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me'" (:45). "'No one knows . . . the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him'" (Mt 11:27). "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him" (Jn 14:7). But the people didn't have faith and he told them, "'You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also'" (8:19). "'He who hates Me hates My Father also'" (15:23). Jesus had said, "'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel'" (Mt 15:24). But they "did not recognize the time of [their] visitation" (Lk 19:44).
Jesus said, "'Before Abraham was born, I am'" (Jn 8:58). The high priest asked Jesus, "'Are You the Christ' . . . and Jesus said, 'I am'" (Mk 14:61-62). Jesus told them, "'My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and . . . I and the Father are one'" (Jn 10:29-30). He later told Philip, "'He who has seen Me has seen the Father'" (14:9). "The Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He . . . was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God" (5:18). The Jews retaliated saying, "'You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God'" (:33). To the Jew this would have been blasphemy and "the congregation shall certainly stone him" (Lev 24:16). "They picked up stones to throw at Him" (8:59) and they "picked up stones again to stone Him" (10:31). Also, they "were persecuting Jesus, because He was doing these things on the Sabbath" (:16). "He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working'" (:17) plus "'the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing'" (:19). He had just healed a sick man at the pool of Bethesda telling him, "'Get up, pick up your pallet and walk'" (:8). Later he told him in the temple, "'Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you'" (:14). Another time they brought him a paralytic and "Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, 'Son, your sins are forgiven'" (Mk 2:5). But he didn't heal him immediately as at Bethseda. The scribes who were present reasoned, "'Why does this man speak this way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?'" (:7). That is why another time they accused "'we know that this man is a sinner'" (Jn 9:24). But it was "'so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'" (Mk 2:10). He explained "'the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath'" (Mt 12:8). Also "'All authority has been given Me in heaven and on earth'" (27:18). Then he said to the paralytic, "'Get up, pick up your pallet and go home'" (Mk 2:10). "On another Sabbath . . . there was a man whose right hand was withered" (Lk 6:6). He told him, "'Stretch out your hand!' And he did so and his hand was restored" (:10). Then there was a blind man who cited that "'it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind'" (Jn 9:32). Jesus "applied the clay to his eyes" (:6) and "he went away and washed, and came back seeing" (:7). The Pharisees accused Jesus of being a sinner and the man replied, "'Whether He is a sinner, I do not know . . . [but] now I see'" (:25). Jesus' response is, "'Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?'" (Jn 8:46).
Jesus' life is a historical record and its historicity is hardly ever questioned. "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory" (Jn 1:14). One day Jesus "asked his disciples, 'Who do you say I am?'" (Mt 16:15). Even "the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, 'Teacher'" (12:38). The antichrist denies that he is the Son of God. They answered, "'Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah'" (:14). But Peter responded, "'You are the Christ, the son of the living God'" (:16). "No one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit" (Ro 10:9). "Every tongue will confess that Jesus us Lord" (Php 2:11). "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Ro 10:13).
Fulfilled prophecy from the Bible establishes who Jesus is. He initiated and witnessed it saying, "'I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes'" (Mt 23:34). It pointed towards his purpose and he said, "'Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?'" (Lk 24:26). He said the scriptures "'testify about Me'" (Jn 5:39) and "'all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets" (Mt 26:56). But they were "'slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!'" (Lk 24:25) so "He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures" (:27). At a certain time "Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and raised up the third day" (Mt 16:21). He then explained, "'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up'" (Jn 2:19). Some of the scribes and Pharisees once asked Jesus, "Teacher, we want to see a sign from You." (Mt 12:38). He replied, "'For just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.'" (:40).
"When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had become a disciple of Jesus" (Mt 27:57) who was "a prominent member of the Council" (Mk 15:43) and a "good and righteous man" (Lk 23:50). "He gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus" (Mk 15:43). "Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoned the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph" (:44-45). Then he "took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb and went away" (Mt 27:59-60). "Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid" (Mk 15:47). "Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment" (Lk 23:56).
The next day the chief priests and Pharisees asked Pilate, "'Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I am to rise again.' Therefore give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, otherwise His disciples may come and steal Him away'" (Mt 27:63-64). Pilate approved and "they went and made the grave secure, and along with the guard they set a seal on the stone" (:66). The stone "was extremely large" (Mk 16:4). Also there were a number of "guards" (Mt 28:4) and afterwards "some of the guard came into the city" (:11). Then on the "first day of the week" (Mk 16:2) the women "bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him" (:1) and they wondered, "'Who will roll away the stone?'" (:3). Next, "a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it" (Mt 28:2).
The angel's "appearance was like lightning and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men" (Mt 28:3-4). Similarly, when the women entered the tomb "they did not find the body" (Lk 24:3) but "two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing" (:4). They said, "'He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come see the place where He was lying'" (Mt 28:6). Then some of the guards "reported to the chief priests all that had happened and . . . they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, 'You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' and if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble'" (:11-13). The "story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day" (:15).
He was put in the tomb at the beginning of the Sabbath and then on the first day of the week the women came to the tomb. There were three days to account for when Jesus was in the tomb "in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison" (1Pe 3:19) which has been interpreted as going to Paradise to preach the gospel to people who had died. He had not yet visited or been transported to heaven and the Bible does not explain what form he had taken. He had not rolled away the stone by himself and escaped, and his disciples had not returned to break him out. However, most people think of existence in the spirit according to "who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?" (1Co 2:11). Furthermore, the angel had not arrived yet synonymously with the earthquake at the end of the Sabbath to roll away the stone, so there was no reported activity during those days. Of course, Pilate or the Jews would not have secretly removed the body either because it would have defeated their own purposes.
When Luke wrote his gospel he cited that "many have undertaken to compile an account . . . and they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses" (Lk1:1-2). He "investigated everything carefully" (:3) in order "that you may know the exact truth" (:4). After the resurrection "He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve" (1Co 15:5). "When the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you'" (Jn 20:19). "He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now" (1Co 15:6). He visited with two disciples and when he ate with them "their eyes were opened and they recognized Him . . . [and said] 'were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?'" (Lk 24:31-32). There was a "third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples" (Jn 21:14). "When the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus" (:4). Then John "said to Peter, 'It is the Lord'" (:7). He met them on the beach but "none of the disciples ventured to question Him, 'Who are You?' knowing that it was the Lord" (:12).
Early in his writing to the Corinthians Paul cited that he heard "there are quarrels among you" (1Co 1:11) some saying "'I am of Paul,' and 'I of Apollos' . . . [etc.]" (:12). Later he stated "you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me" (2Co 13:3). Then as if to return the question he replied, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" (:5). "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God" (1Jn 4:15). When the jailer asked Paul, "'What must I do to be saved?'" (Ac 16:30) he replied, "'Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved'" (:31). When you give your testimony as a witness in court they ask you to promise that it will be "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." Paul challenged them asking "do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you-unless you indeed fail the test?" (2Co 13:5). What does it mean if you are "in the faith" (:5)? The preposition "in" gramatically can mean indicatng a belief such as with "the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness" (Ro 4:5). Therefore "God abides in him" (1Jn 4:15) because he "believes in Him" (Ro 4:5). Paul continued saying "I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test" (2Co 13:6). This is how someone would determine if a person was a Christian or not. "We know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us His Spirit" (1Jn 4:13). To abide means to stay or remain in a permanent relationship. It is not the type of question you would ask a stranger but it would be useful "in the defense and confirmation of the gospel" (Php 1:7).
Paul's question to them was if "Christ is in you?" (2Co 13:5). The preposition "in" denotes a location or place. His teaching is based on "if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus" (Eph 4:21). "Let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning . . . [and] you also will abide in the Son and in the Father" (1Jn 2:24). "You know Him who has been from the beginning . . . [because] the word of God abides in you" (:14). We "abide in the teaching of Christ" (2Jn 1:9). Jesus expressed that "'My words abide in you'" (Jn 15:7) and that you "'abide in Me, and I in you'" (:4). "Just as it has taught you, you abide in Him" (1Jn 2:27). He has "given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true" (5:20). "After listening to the message of truth . . . having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph 1:13). "The anointing which you received from Him abides in you . . . [and] His anointing teaches you about all things" (1Jn 2:27). "His seed abides in him . . . because he is born of God" (3:9). "In Him we live and move and exist" (Ac 17:28). "In Him you have been made complete" (Col 2:10). The anointing is from the "'Spirit of truth . . . [and] you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you'" (Jn 14:17). It is "for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever" (2Jn 11:2). "The one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son" (1:9). Paul directed the Corinthians to spiritually and experientially prove themselves. They did not posses the completed New Testament as we have today but they had "no need for anyone to teach you" (1Jn 2:27).