Spirituality: Enough facts to encourage faith – Entertainment – Wilmington Star News

“It all comes down to this…” March 29, 1982, Louisiana Superdome, 18 seconds remained, and North Carolina trailed Georgetown 62-61. Freshman Michael Jordan caught a perfectly executed pass on the left wing, and let it fly…ceiling, roof, GOAT!

“It all comes down to this…” April 4, 1983, The Pit in Albuquerque, 7 seconds remained, and NC State scrambled for the last shot against prohibitive favorite Houston with the score tied 52-52. Freshman Lorenzo Charles caught an air-ball by Derrick Whittenburg and dunked it as time expired…

It’s not called “March Madness” for nothing. “It all comes down to this” every year. The last two Final Fours have ended in dramatic fashion for the North Carolina Tar Heels. So crushing was last year’s buzzer beating loss in the Finals to Villanova, that this year, the entire season was defined with one word: #redemption. What was at stake in each high intensity moment? The outcome of basketball games, the annual One Shining Moment.

Last week was Holy Week in the Christian calendar. Globally, millions celebrated events leading up to Easter Sunday. Locally, thousands gathered before dawn, hoping for a beautiful Easter sunrise, celebrating an empty tomb, remembering the crucifixion of one man, and his resurrection from the dead. Why would an event so long ago continue to be celebrated? Because “It ALL comes down to this.” Literally.

In the accounts of Jesus’ life, antagonism from the religious establishment grew to a fever pitch. They wanted him dead. Jesus confronted dead tradition. Jesus hated their self-righteousness. Jesus remains the most polarizing figure in history. Repeatedly, Jesus was approached with demands for validating signs. Jesus offered but one…the sign of Jonah. “Just as Jonah was three days in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40) The sign of Jonah, more than his unexpected weekend in the belly of a fish, referred to Jonah’s emergence alive three days later, reluctantly obeying his original call as a prophet. According to Jesus, the singular validation his entire ministry would rest on his death and bodily resurrection. Jesus went all in with his credibility: “I will emerge alive from a tomb where I will be placed dead. That is THE sign.” “If I do not…it all comes down to this.”

Consider that the signal event of the Christian faith, the resurrection, is open to historical scrutiny. Jesus, the author of that faith, made it so. His resurrection from the dead would either be verifiable, inviting serious consideration and necessitating response to all he said and did; or it would not be, proving him a liar.

Gary Habermas, the leading authority on the resurrection, has compiled data from resurrection scholars from skeptical to liberal to conservative; a bibliography of more than 2,400 who have published on this event. His book,…

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