Sir Lionel Luckhoo is a defense attorney listed in the 1990 Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s most successful lawyer” for pleading the cases and winning 245 successive acquittals for his clients. His testimony in Leading Lawyers Look at the Resurrection declares, “I have spent more than forty-two years as a defense trial lawyer appearing in many parts of the world . . . I say unequivocally the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ is so overwhelming that it compels acceptance by proof which leaves absolutely no doubt.”3
When you look at all this evidence, are you able to answer beyond a reasonable doubt that Jesus is in fact who He claimed to be?
Exhibit L: He changed my life.
The final evidence for me is a very personal one. It is what the resurrected Jesus has done in my life.
You know why I believe in Jesus? It includes the word Punkie. Why any parent would name their daughter that, I don’t know, but my parents did. Punkie is my sister.
While I was in high school, my dad’s alcoholism was getting worse. My older sister responded by rebelling and going off to college, and my sister Punkie wrestled with an eating disorder. Being “the rescuer” in an alcoholic family, I became a workaholic and tried to figure out how to make life work for our family. I was the youngest child and it was a heavy burden for me to carry. Punkie loved me like no one had ever loved me in my life. She was the kindest, most unselfish, most considerate, most caring person I had ever known.
Unbeknownst to me, a couple of years earlier in high school, Punkie became a Christian, a genuine follower of Jesus. I saw a change in her life, but I couldn’t explain it. She didn’t preach at or nag me, she just loved me through her words and actions. I would walk into the house with my basketball buddies, and she would say, “Would you guys like a sandwich?” Or I would have a test and she would help me study for it. She was that person who was always there for me.
When I was tempted to do stuff that I knew was really bad, I would ask myself, what would Punkie think? I didn’t want to disappoint her. Have you ever had someone love you like that?
Someday, someway, I thought, I wanted to be like her. Her life was amazing. But I didn’t know why. She introduced me to some people who eventually piqued my interest in taking a fresh look at God, the Bible, and Christianity. To say my life changed and is changing is an understatement. In fact, about ten years ago, a fellow high school basketball player who had become a Christian saw my name on the internet and wondered if it could be the same Chip Ingram. We were both unbelievers in high school and had attitudes and lifestyles to prove it. He called and said he couldn’t believe I was a pastor leading a Christian organization; he only knew the “Old Chip.”
I want to share with you one final evidence of God’s loving work in my life, and that’s my youngest granddaughter. She is one year old, and the other day she wanted to color eggs. I don’t really like to color eggs, but I couldn’t resist. She just learned how to kiss, and her mommy said, “Kiss Papa.” She leaned over, looked me in the eyes, and gave me a kiss. She’s our tenth grandchild from our four adult children who have all grown up to love Christ, marry fellow believers, and produce this amazing extended family. Some of you might be able to grasp what a miracle that is since my wife and I both came from alcoholic families.
I love that little girl. And the trajectory of her life is off-the-charts different than my family of origin because I met the resurrected Christ. He radically changed my life, my values, my priorities, and my family. That’s how it works . . . one life at a time.
Wow, what a journey this has been. I have shared why I believe in the resurrection, and there are three very specific implications that you and I need to ponder.
1. The first implication is, what does it mean to you? I would say the evidence validates Jesus’ claim, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). His claim is unique, extreme, and narrow, and it’s proven by the resurrection. It is either true or false. There is no middle ground.
2. The second implication is that the resurrection gives absolute hope for the future. Jesus said, “Because I live, you will live.” Can I tell you something? I am not afraid of terrorists. I am not afraid to travel. I am not afraid of global economic crisis. I am not afraid of the stock market crashing. Throughout history the church and God’s people have gone through repeated ups and downs, but I put my trust in God.
God is in absolute control. No matter what I go through, He is with me. When I die, I will go immediately into the presence of Jesus Christ, not because I am a good person, not because I am a pastor, and not because I have done something special. It’s because I have believed and trusted in Jesus’ death on the cross as the full payment for sins and received His forgiveness of my sin. I have repented of my sin and my self-will and asked Him to come into my life. He has forgiven me and He lives in me. Because Jesus lives, I live, and He offers that to whoever believes.
3. The third implication is eternal life. It’s not something in the future. It’s something that starts now. Let’s take a look at a very popular verse that you may have heard or even seen in the NFL end zone . . .
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Read this verse aloud again and actually insert your name into it. “For God so loved” and say your name to yourself. I want you to know and feel that this is true. This is the greatest act of love toward you in the world.
For God so loved [your name] that he gave his one and only Son that if [your name] believes in him, [your name] shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn [your name], but to save [your name] through him.
For the great majority of you who are reading this book, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You have already put your faith in Christ. You can remember the day you prayed and asked Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your life.
But the truth is, the world has changed a lot in the last several years. In addition, many of the things that you were taught to believe are being challenged even in evangelical churches. It’s becoming more difficult and more unpopular to be a follower of Jesus, and often doubts crowd in when pressure increases.
It’s easy to feel out of step or anti-intellectual to say that you are a follower of Jesus and believe the Bible and the resurrection. This chapter is a reminder from God that you haven’t thrown your brains in the trash and that your intellectual standing is historical, logical, and well-founded.
For others, a friend has given you this book because you used to go to church, or you are spiritual and honestly seeking for the truth and wonder about Jesus and the claims of Christianity. Let me first say thank you for joining me on this journey. I remember well honestly wondering about life and God and my purpose on the earth. I wondered if what is written about Jesus and His claims to be God and to give me eternal life could be true.
So let me encourage you to look at yourself as the member of a jury examining all that you’ve read in these first two chapters and to honestly weigh the evidence. Think it over, talk about it with a friend, make a list of the things that make sense and the things that you still question. It is a journey, but there is a God who loves you and wants to reveal Himself to you.
Finally, let me encourage you to pray a little prayer that I prayed as I was on my journey. No one gave it to me, but it just seemed to make a lot of sense, and it’s one I know that God will answer . . .
“God, if you exist, please reveal Yourself to me in a way that I can really understand. I want You to know that if You do it in a way that I can understand, I will do whatever You want me to do. Amen.”
God promises that if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him.
Finally, the resurrection is certainly the centerpiece of Christianity and a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. But if you’re like me, I had a lot of questions that went beyond the resurrection. And the biggest one by far was, “Can I really trust the Bible?” So much of what I’ve shared and what Jesus taught is in the Bible, but what if it is not true? What if the Bible has been changed and corrupted over the years? How could I really know that the Bible is not just an old book instead of the very Word of God?
Ingram, Chip. 2017. Why I Believe: Straight Answers to Honest Questions about God, the Bible, and Christianity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker.
We have just completed a 6-Week Bible Study Lesson Series on Chip Ingram’s book, Why I Believe. It is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle versions, as well as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription plan. The idea is to invite each participant to purchase their own book and discuss it each week.
Why I Believe, Lesson #1
Chapters 1, 2
Why I Believe in the Resurrection
Did Jesus Really Die?
Why I Believe, Lesson #2
Chapters 3, 4
Why I Believe the Bible
Don’t Take My Word for It
Why I Believe, Lesson #3
Why I Believe in Life After Death
Why I Believe, Lesson #4
Chapters 6, 7
Why I Believe in Life Creation
Science or God?
Why I Believe, Lesson #5
Why I Believe in the God of the Bible
Why I Believe, Lesson #6
How is that Working for You?