Someone can always come up with a reason not to believe. We can always cook up a story that does not need God in it. We’ve been doing that from the start, but one of my favorite illustrations of this is in Matthew 28:
While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
Indeed, the story is still circulated today. Some of our best-selling Christian authors even peddle the myth concocted to debunk Easter.
It happens because we want an explanation that does not depend on God. We like to run the world as if none of its truths depend on God being God. And so we set our sharp little minds to crafting godless stories and our greedy little hearts to believing them.
The lies about Easter get some traction in the church.
The lies about Christmas are in some quarters almost dogma.
They are taught to the wise ones in the pews as secret knowledge. The truth is dismissed as fairy tale and Sunday School pabulum. It is okay for the children’s pageant but not for adults. All this stuff about the virgin birth and going to Bethlehem and angels and shepherds and wise men catches in the throat of too many of our pastors who tell these stories with their fingers crossed behind their backs.
I don’t understand that.
If we believe Jesus died and rose on the third day, why is it so hard to believe he was born of a virgin?
Sure, people can dream up stories that explain the orthodox teaching away. There are lots of garden guardians eager to take the gold coins from the elders. But we have the testimony of the Spirit and the cloud of witness.
They say, “Believe.”
We say, “Amen.”