“But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Please observe carefully the array of witnesses listed in verses 5-8. It is interesting to note the writing of Muhammad some 600 years AFTER the resurrection: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger-They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain” (Qur‘an, Surah IV, 157). Contrast this to Jesus’ own statement in Matthew 20:18,19 and the apostles in Acts 2 regarding the death and resurrection of the Messiah.

Ahmed Deedat, a Muslin writer, stated: “Let me give you a quick summary of the points we have discussed so far, concluding that Jesus Christ was neither killed nor was he crucified, as alleged by the Christians and the Jews, but he was ALIVE!” (Crucifixion or Crucifiction?, page 78, written in l984). Then he lists 30 points in an effort to verify his claim that Jesus was not crucified/died. This effort is hypocritical because he uses a book (Bible) that he does not accept as authority in an effort to prove his points. Observe point #9, “Encyclopedia Biblica under article “Cross”- Column 960: Says that when the spear was thrust-Jesus was ALIVE!” Contrast this to an eyewitness account in John 19:33-35. Yahiya Emerick stated, “So in their anger they plotted to crucify him on a Roman cross. But Jesus slipped from their grip at the last moment, and all the while they thought they had succeeded. They were sure they had killed him, but God answered Jesus’ prayer and saved him from their schemes. Confusion overtook the mob and they might have killed the man who betrayed Jesus instead. In any case, Jesus escaped from their grasp” (Who Was Jesus?... published by Islamic Circle of North America). Once again, it is refreshing and uplifting to read in the four gospel accounts of EYEWITNESSES of the death and burial of the Lamb of God and the resurrected Messiah.

The Twelve stood boldly on Pentecost in Jerusalem and declared the resurrection of Jesus: “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know-Him, being delivered by the determined council and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death because it was not possible that He should be held by it” (Acts 2:22-24). This was within FIFTY DAYS of Jesus’ death and resurrection and these claims were not refuted! In fact, some 3,000 souls (verses 36-41) were convicted of the Truth proclaimed.

As further evidence of the power of the resurrection of the Messiah, Peter proclaimed; “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (First Peter 1:3). This event changed dejection, disillusion, hopelessness and despair into a burning zeal that knew no bounds! They spread the teachings of the Christ throughout the known world with rapidity unequaled in history. “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins…If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (First Corinthians 15:17, 19).

Frank Parker is a Sebring resident. Columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.

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