Sunday, April 14, 2013
We all wonder what will happen to us after we die. When a loved one dies, we long to see him or her again after our turn comes. Jesus taught that life does not end after our bodies die. He made this startling claim: “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again.” According to the eyewitnesses closest to him, Jesus then demonstrated his power over death by rising from the dead after being crucified and buried for three days. It is this belief that has given hope to Christians for nearly 2000 years.
Some people believe that Jesus didn’t really die. Some believe that he died and his followers stole the body and made up the stories of his resurrection.
Charles Dickens begins “The Christmas Carol” with, “Marley was deader than a doornail, of that there was no doubt.” The same can be said of Jesus – the Romans were experts at execution and no one who was crucified, lived. Crucifixion was such a horrendous death that there were no words to express the pain that those crucified experienced – the Romans invented a new word to describe the pain: it was excruciating. Jesus’ death is a certainty.
Did his followers steal his body and make up stories of his resurrection? Chuck Colson, implicated in the Watergate scandal during President Nixon’s administration, pointed out the difficulty of several people maintaining a lie for an extended period of time. He said . . .
[Quote] “I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, and then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Each of them was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world – and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” [End Quote]
If his death wasn’t faked and it wasn’t a conspiracy by his closest friends, then we are left with only one conclusion: Jesus Christ was crucified, died and was buried, and on the third day he rose from the dead, reconciling us to God and restoring us to eternal life.