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, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one 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.
No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door.
God visited us… and… well… we killed him. Funny thing is, He didn’t stay dead. And… not only did He not stay dead, when He got back up, He still loved us. By not staying dead, He showed us that life is more than the eye can see. By still loving us, He revealed the ethic of Heaven, the character of God, and He turned our retributive world upside-down.
The apostles suffered incredible persecution and died horrible deaths in the Christian cause. The only possible explanation for their zeal was that they had actually seen, talked with and eaten with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. If Christ had not really risen and had not appeared to the apostles, would they all have died for a lie?
Christ has illuminated the world, not by what He did, but by what He was; His life is the Light of Men. We speak of a man’s life-work; the work of Jesus was His life itself… It is good to be told that the pure in heart shall see God, but the vision of heaven in a pure man’s face outweighs it all. They tell us that the Easter morning has revealed His glory; rather would I say that His glory has revealed the Easter morning. It is not resurrection that has made Christ; it is Christ that has made resurrection. To those who have seen His beauty, even Olivet can add no certainty; the light of immortality is as bright on His Cross as on His Crown. ‘I am the resurrection’ are His own words about Himself-not ‘I teach,’ not ‘I cause,’ not ‘I predict,’ but ‘I am.’ “
The resurrection is the keystone of the arch on which our faith is supported. If Christ has not risen, we must impeach all those witnesses for lying. If Christ has not risen, we have no proof that the crucifixion of Jesus differed from that of the two thieves who suffered with him. If Christ has not risen, it is impossible to believe his atoning death was accepted.
Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone but in every leaf in springtime.
Grace is the incomprehensible fact that God is well pleased with a man, and that a man can rejoice in God. Only when grace is recognized to be incomprehensible is it grace. Grace exists, therefore, only where the Resurrection is reflected. Grace is the gift of Christ, who exposes the gulf which separates God and man, and, by exposing it, bridges it.
God just doesn’t throw a life preserver to a drowning person. He goes to the bottom of the sea, and pulls a corpse from the bottom of the sea, takes him up on the bank, breathes into him the breath of life and makes him alive.