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With great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. Acts 4: 33


We in Jersey have good reason to praise the BBC, not only for Radio Jersey and its linked TV and web coverage of Island news and events but also for its national services - including BBC 1 and 2 documentaries.


One of these, "The Story of God", was produced and presented some time ago by Robert Winston (Lord Winston), one of the UK's best-known scientists.


How did he report on the resurrection of Jesus in connection with “the story of God from 27,000 BC to 1917 AD”? How did he view the testimony of the apostles of Jesus Christ to the resurrection (see above) - testimony given in late 33 AD, immediately after the first Easter Day in that year?


The answer to those questions is very interesting. You see, Robert Winston is Jewish and his book - the book that became the TV series - was written in 2005. It’s much more detailed than the media of TV could permit. His book covers the (in his view, alleged) resurrection of Jesus Christ in a couple of sentences.


Before that, chapter 5 starts with the words, "Around twenty centuries ago, an obscure man by the name of Yehoshua caused a stir in Roman-occupied Palestine." Yehoshua was not Jesus Christ but another (one of many) who claimed to be the Messiah (a Hebrew word, translated as 'Christ' in Greek and, now, English). Yehoshua sought a following - but was duly executed in around 95 AD.


Robert Winston then tells of Jesus, "some sixty two years earlier" than Yehoshua, and writes that, "three days after his death, his body was reported missing. Several of his followers reported having met with him. People believed that he had been reborn - like the ancient gods of near Eastern myths, with which most were still very familiar."


And that's it.


There are some problems with this account, though. It is a fact that near Eastern myths had ancient gods being reborn. But this man Jesus Christ was a convicted criminal, executed following trial by the authorities in Jerusalem, Jewish and Roman.


No myths allowed for such a stupid idea - life beyond the grave was not for convicted criminals but for gods - or for virtuous souls - or Emperors like the dead Claudius whom his successor Nero proclaimed as having joined the gods in AD 54.


Also, it is a fact that the near Eastern myths had ancient gods being reborn - but never physically resurrected. The reason for that was that, for centuries before AD 33, Greek philosophers had set the soul or spirit in opposition to the body. They were certain that ultimate happiness and freedom could only be achieved without a body.


Another fact missed by Robert Winston was that, unlike all the other false messiahs, Jesus had repeatedly taught his key followers that he was going to be killed - and rise from death. When told, they didn't take it in.


But these apostles of Jesus in AD 33, with great power, were now giving their testimony about a convicted crucified criminal being physically resurrected from the dead a few months earlier......just as he had said.


And there's something more in this single sentence written by the physician Luke in his well-researched book 'The Acts of the Apostles of Jesus Christ' published in the first century AD. It's the words, "great grace was upon them all".


These apostles and followers of Jesus - their lives matched up to what they were saying about the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.


Robert Winston cannot rewrite history; he can only attempt to do so.

‘Never was there as great an imposture put upon the world as Christianity, if Christ be yet in the grave." (John Trapp, Bible commentator, 1601-1669)
‘Men may fall by sin, but cannot raise up themselves without the help of grace.” (John Bunyan, Author “Pilgrim’s Progress”, 1628-1688)
Richard Syvret

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