The hardest thing to believe
The hardest thing to believe in the New Testament isn’t that a guy rose from the dead. For the disciples, the hardest thing to believe was that they were going to come to possess the Roman Empire, and build a new civilization, and it was all going to happen by giving themselves up for dead.
Those few dozen people, barely holding it together, were going to build a new world order, and they were going to do this without weapons, without military strategy, without intrigue, without political power. They would have to be willing to practice peace in the face of torture and incredible violence, and doing so would somehow secure their victory.
They could hardly imagine such a thing.
The meek would inherit the earth. That is the hardest thing to believe in the New Testament.
It took a guy rising from the dead to convince the disciples of it. It took him appearing to them again and again to give them the courage to think it might be true.
Looking back, we’re in a very different boat. We know that Jesus was right. We know that the meek did inherit the earth. We know that those few dozen people did go on to build a new world, without a single military conquest.
And this gives us pause — it makes us look again at the event that convinced them. It’s almost unimaginable to think that a guy might have risen from the dead — but at least we’re not them, trying to convince ourselves that the Roman Empire was going to fall before a group of people who never even lifted a sword.