1637) By What Authority? (c)

            (…continued)  Lee Strobel was a hard-nosed investigative reporter for the Chicago Tribune.  He had written some award-winning stories, was promoted at work, and was happily married with two children.  Life was going great for him.  Then his wife ruined everything by going to church and becoming a Christian.  Lee Strobel was all about facts, and he could not stand it that his wife joined this cult (as he called it); a cult that was based on fairy tales.

     So Strobel decided to use all his skills as an investigative reporter to investigate Christianity, prove it to be a fraud, and get his crazy wife out of that church, which was now even starting to brainwash his children.  He quickly got to the heart of the matter—the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the whole thing would crumble like a house of cards.  Strobel was confident he would be able to disprove that old fable.  After all, he was a part of the effort that taught Ford Motor Company a lesson about vehicle safety, forcing the recall of a million and a half Pintos after a design flaw that led to explosions, fires, and many fatalities after even minor rear end collisions.

     Unlike many people, Strobel did not simply dismiss and ridicule what the New Testament said about Jesus.  His plan was to actively engage the enemy, seeking out the best Christian scholars and convincing them of their errors.  But he was surprised to find that these Christians were not as dumb as he thought.  They had already approached the New Testament with all the tough logical and historical questions that he was ready to investigate.  Not only that, but they had powerful reasons for still believing as they did.  Time after time, his objections were answered; again and again, his arguments failed.

     Eventually, he found that he could not prove that Jesus did not rise from the dead.  In fact, he came to believe, totally against his will and desire and pride and huge ego, that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the best explanation for the historical facts.

     Lee Strobel’s life and career was all about facts, and the facts he learned about the New Testament, led him to faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.

     Lee Strobel quit his job at the Chicago Tribune, but kept on writing.  He has written The Case for Christ, The Case for the Creator, The Case for Faith, The Case for Grace, and God’s Outrageous Claims.

     Lee Strobel, like the chief priests and elders in Matthew 21, wanted to know “by what authority” Jesus was able to make such outrageous claims.  At first, he dismissed Jesus with the smug disdain that many people today have for Christianity.  But then, unlike many people today, he began to look into it.  When he did, he found all kinds of reasons to believe that Christ is worthy of the authority given him.

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II Peter 1:16  —  We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

I Corinthians 15:1-8  —  I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.  For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:  that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.  Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

Acts 5:29-38  —  Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!  The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead— whom you killed by hanging him on a cross.  God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.  We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”  When they (the religious leaders) heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death.  But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while.  Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men.  Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him.  He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing.  After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt.  He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered.  Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”


O Almighty God, grant that we may ever be found watching and ready for the coming of Thy Son.  Save us from undue love of the world, that we may wait with patient hope for the day of the Lord, and so abide in him, that when he shall appear we may not be ashamed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

–Methodist hymnal