Ask anyone a question about faith, God, or Jesus, and it’s likely the answer will begin with, “The Bible says.” When we were six years old, “The Bible says” answers were enough. If God wrote a book, there was no reason to challenge what it said.
But for some of us, “The Bible says” became problematic somewhere north of our eighteenth birthday. A storybook of miracles just doesn’t stand up to the tough questions of the adult world—questions like, Why do bad things happen to good people? Why don’t science and religion line up? Why does so much evil seemingly go unpunished?
If those are your questions—if you have doubts about God or are skeptical of the Old Testament stories that sound so much like fairy tales—here’s some good news: hundreds of thousands of men and women found faith before the Bible even existed. The starting point for their faith was not “The Bible says.” It was something else entirely, something that’s still the best starting point for us thousands of years later.
Today’s Scripture passage, which is part of a speech the apostle Paul made to a group of philosophers in Athens, gives us a clue about what that starting point is. First, it’s important to know that if you have doubts about Jesus, Paul is your guy. He was so skeptical of Jesus that he actually hunted down and arrested Jesus’ followers. But something changed Paul’s mind, and it might change yours too.
In his speech, Paul shares his most convincing explanation of why the men in his audience should believe Jesus was, in fact, God’s Son. And the starting point he gives them isn’t Jesus’ teachings or even evidence of miracles. Paul says the only proof needed is that Jesus was raised from the dead.
For any of us exploring faith, the best starting point isn’t believing in a book. It’s believing in a person. More specifically, it’s believing in what happened to that person three days after he died.