By: Pastor Robert E. Henson
Tailored Evidence for Individuals
Individuals, by their very nature, are unique. We do not all have the same patterns of response. Nor, are we all convinced of facts and truth by the same piece of evidence. The item of evidence that convinces one, does not necessarily convince another person. The evidence that moves one person to believe does not automatically cause everyone else to believe. Jesus was well aware of this human phenomena. That is why we are told in the Book of Acts (Holy Bible) 1:3 that Jesus spent 40 days after His resurrection, showing Himself alive, “by many proofs”.
There were those in Christ’s day, as it is today, that refused to believe in Christ or His resurrection regardless of the mountain of proof. God will deal with such folks at the Judgement. For those who desire to believe, but who also did not want to be deceived, Jesus provided “many infallible proofs.” He hammered many nails of “Irrefutable Evidence” around the doorway of His tomb upon which believers of all ages could hang their hats of faith and hope. Some believed when they were told by an angel that Jesus was alive. Others believed when they were told by fellow disciples that Jesus had been resurrected. Still others refused to be convinced until they actually saw the risen Christ with their own eyes.
For Those Who Doubt
For Thomas the doubter, visual proof was not enough. He required more evidence. He declared, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe.” Eight days later, Jesus appeared to Thomas and offered to him the “Irrefutable Evidence” he required.
Simon Peter and John both were each convinced of Christ’s resurrection at separate points and in response to different exhibits of evidence.
They arrived at the tomb of Christ almost simultaneously. They both went into the sepulchre and looked around. There they each saw the napkin laid apart by itself and stooped down to look at the linen clothes in which Christ had been wrapped. Luke tells us that Simon Peter left the tomb ‘wondering in himself at that which had come to pass.” Upon examination of the word wondering, we find that it can have two different meanings: (1) wondering – not denying, and yet not fully believing and, (2) the twilight zone; not sure. Simon was not a pure bred believer until some time later when Jesus made a personal appearance to him.
Proof for the Believer
On the other hand, the Bible clearly denotes that while John’s feet were still on the tomb’s floor, before he stepped back outside the sepulchre, he became a thorough believer. The Scripture says that “he saw and believed”. What was the evidence that convinced John? It was the linen clothes lying on the tomb’s floor. To understand what a powerful exhibit of evidence this was, one must understand something of the Jewish burial customs of that era. E.W. Kenyon has provided an excellent commentary here:
“You understand that in every family among the wealthy Jews, there was a
slave who understood embalming, for that class always embalmed their loved ones. John 19:39-40: ‘And there came also Nicodemus, he who at the first came to him by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. So they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as was the custom of the Jews to bury.’ The body was first washed, and then the cloth was torn up into narrow strips and smeared with the sticky substance. Each finger and toe and hand and foot was wrapped with these strips until the legs and arms and body were completely encased in this sticky substance. The head and neck were completely covered except the face. When it was finished, over the chest and torso there was an inch to an inch and a half of this cloth covered
with that sticky substance. The body was then put into Joseph’s tomb. The climate was about the same as they have in Southern California. In a few hours the embalming garment would become a solid mass, and Jesus’ body would be completely imprisoned in the grave clothes. The face was yet to be embalmed. Loved ones laid a napkin upon his face, heavily saturated with something to preserve the face until the third day when loving hands would finish the embalming.”
At the resurrection of Lazarus, when Jesus called him back to life, he appeared at the tomb’s opening, “bound hand and foot”. Jesus directed his associates, “Loose him and let him go”. Though alive, Lazarus found it impossible to free himself from the Jewish burial clothes. It was not the same with Jesus. He needed no help to get out of His grave or grave clothes.
Peter and John were the first to hear the rest of the story. They were both intrigued by the grave clothes lying on the floor of the tomb. They each stooped down to look at them. For John, that was all he needed to see, in order to believe. E.W. Kenyon again gives us an insight as to what John saw.
“What did John see? He saw the empty cocoon lying there upon the floor. It had become so hard and stiff that it would almost support one’s knee as you pressed upon it. But it was empty. The body of Jesus had come out of that little narrow aperture at the face. If John had seen that someone with a knife had ripped that cocoon open and taken the body of Jesus, he would never have believed; the empty cocoon convinced John that Jesus was risen from the dead.” 2
It was “Irrefutable Evidence”. Today … JESUS IS RISEN! HE IS ALIVE! HE OFFERS ETERNAL SALVATION TO YOU. HE IS CAPABLE AND WILLING TO MEET ANY NEED IN YOUR LIFE, He calls you today to faith in Christ, repentance of sins, water baptism in the name of Jesus, and the infilling of the Holy Ghost in your own life. You too can believe the “Irrefutable Evidence” and obey!
1. Kenyon, E.W., “In His Presence” (Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing Society, Inc., 1969), 35.
2. Ibid, 36
The above material was published in the Spring 1995 issue of the South
Flint Scroll. This material has been published and may be used for
research and study purposes only.