A black swan is a term used in financial markets. It refers to an unexpected and dramatic event.
The coronavirus pandemic is a black swan. No-one expected it, at least at this time, and it has resulted in the third fastest fall in world markets since 1975 when the FTSE began as a financial measure of the major companies in the UK.
Why a black swan?
For a long time people thought that all swans were white until eventually black swans were discovered in Australia. This changed perceptions and even definitions.
So the term was adopted to explain sudden unexpected changes in financial markets. Although some people anticipated the sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2007, the majority did not and the fragility of the global banking system was exposed as a pack of cards leaning on each other card.
The concept is easy enough to understand and so the black swan is employed as a general term.
The greatest black swan
The greatest black swan in human history is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
It was wholly unexpected but when it happened, everything changed.
It demonstrates that there is life after death. This is a most important lesson that cannot be ignored. Jesus told us that we cannot afford to ignore it and it will have consequences if we do Mat 12:39-41.
Why did Christ die and rise again?
The resurrection is God’s testimony to mankind that the reason for Christ’s death was what He declared it to be. If He was a false teacher, God would not have raised Him from the dead.
Jesus explained to His disciples at the Last Supper that His death was substitutionary, to atone for the sins of His people. Before He was born, an angel told Joseph to “call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins” Mat 1:21.
Atonement was accomplished by His satisfying all the claims of law and justice against His people. This involved His living a sinless life on their behalf and suffering the punishment due to His people’s sins. This He accomplished and even Pontius Pilate said that he found no fault in Jesus Lk 23:4,14.
At His crucifixion, Jesus cried, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” This was to demonstrate that He was atoning for sin and that “the wages of sin is death” Rom 6:23. Jesus told the thief crucified beside Him: “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise” Lk 23:43. At the end of His sufferings He cried, “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit” and “It is finished” to declare that redemption was accomplished.
He lay in the grave with Roman soldiers guarding the tomb but on the third day He rose triumphantly from the dead. His dead body was never found, to which the apostle Paul testified, and he knew the events from the viewpoint of both sides – Jewish officialdom and the Christian standpoint.
What does it teach?
The resurrection shows us that 1. God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice on behalf of His people, 2. that atonement had been accomplished so that 3. forgiveness of sin is freely available through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus explained His death as a ransom to deliver His people from the guilt and consequences of their sins. “The Son of man came to serve and to give His life a ransom for many” Mat 20:28. His resurrection demonstrates His success.
The greatest sinner will find Christ to be an adequate Advocate. This is why those who trust in Him will arrive in heaven. He will bring them there. This is why He says: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life” Jn 14:6.
What difference does it make?
It makes all the difference in the world, and in eternity too.
The smallest child can understand that resurrection makes a difference. They may not understand theology or difficult concepts but they can understand this. Many intelligent adults cannot. Their childhood curiosity and belief was soon knocked out of them by adults. They are now too intelligent to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If only their intelligence would lead them to examine the evidence.
The American theologian B. B. Warfield said that “the resurrection of Christ is the fundamental apologetical fact of Christianity”.
Many people have written books to disprove the resurrection of Christ only to end up acknowledging its truth once they have examined the evidence. Who Moved The Stone? by Frank Morrison is one example.
Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell is well worth perusal.
Why does the resurrection of Christ demand a verdict? Why can you not live your life without examining it?
Because the reality or otherwise of life after death is the most important matter you must determine while alive on this Earth. Is it so? is the question you must answer.
Why so? It determines your destiny and so you ignore it at your peril. Human beings are good at ignoring uncomfortable truths.
Jesus taught this necessity with an illustration about the Queen of Sheba travelling a great distance when she heard about the wisdom of King Solomon, to determine for herself if it was true. Jesus is greater than Solomon, and life after death is a bigger subject to determine. Its demonstration in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a Black Swan that changes everything and cannot be ignored. It needs to be examined.
But the news is good …
God has given you the time to investigate and what is more, you are reading a blogpost about it.
The apostle Paul is a good place to start. He was virulently opposed to Jesus and to Christians but he came to discover the truth of His resurrection and this changed everything for him. He had a lot to lose, and did lose it for the sake of the Gospel of Christ, and ended up as a martyr in Rome during Emperor Nero’s purges.
It can change everything for you also. Possibly this frightens you. However, it will change things for the better, in this life and the life to come.
Not so fast! you say?
Well, there is no time to lose and you can opt for the safe course meanwhile. Ignoring it is the dangerous course because you may die at any moment without this matter settled.
The best answer comes from Jesus Himself. It is important to realise that this is not about words on paper, the manner in which some people dismiss the topic. The evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead does not depend upon words alone. This is why the evidence needs to be examined. Part of this evidence is recorded in the New Testament of the Bible, but there is much more than this.
As Christians believe Jesus Christ is alive, they personally bear witness to the effect of His resurrection upon themselves and their life.
They invite their acquaintances to discover this for themselves so that they may have personal experience of the risen Christ, so that “their faith does not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” 1Cor 2:5.
Belief in the risen Christ is not a mere statement but a personal conviction of its truth.
Doubting Thomas was not gullible and he would not accept the testimony of his fellow apostles. Jesus soon settled his doubts with personal experience.
The best evidence for you will be personal experience and this is what God does by proving it to you personally. Jesus explained this to His apostles. He explained that He would send the Holy Spirit of God. “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will convince the world of the sin of not believing on Me, of righteousness and of judgment” Jn 16:8-9. The Spirit of God does the convincing – not preachers. Once you are convinced, you cannot but believe it.
The resurrection had been predicted for millennia in the Old Testament Scriptures.
Pray – not pay
Nor do you need to pay anything, nor to do anything other than to pray to God and ask Him to reveal His Son Jesus Christ to you. There are many ways He can and will answer this prayer, but the important point is to begin. This is described in the Bible as “returning to the Lord” in response to Jesus’ invitation “Come unto Me” Mat 11:28 and “whoever comes to Me I will certainly not reject” Jn 6:37.
You can listen here to the free offer of the Gospel.
For those of my readers who are more scientifically inclined, you might consider Paul Dirac’s opinion that the existence of God could only be justified if an improbable event were to have taken place in the past. The resurrection of Christ is certainly an improbable event. For my less scientifically inclined readers, Paul Dirac is regarded as one of the most significant physicists of the 20th century, whom Einstein said he could not understand.
Dirac applied this test to the origin of life. It passed this test because the probability of the origin of life arising from chance is so infinitessimally small that it is “improbable”, to use Dirac’s word. However, not everyone understands such probabilities so God has given us an easier improbability to consider – the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. People do not usually rise from the dead, so the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead should make all thinking people pause to reflect upon its meaning.