By Rev. Mark Creech
Christian Action League
Dr. Brian Harbour, former Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Richardson, Texas, once noted that Easter has a 3-D effect. Easter, he said, is a past event with present day ramifications that produce future expectations.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the best attested events in human history. Apologist Josh McDowell notes in The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict:
“This was the conclusion to which former Chief Justice of England, Lord Darling, came. At a private dinner party the talk turned to the truth of Christianity, and particularly to a certain book dealing with the resurrection. Placing his fingertips together, assuming a judicial attitude, and speaking with a quiet emphasis that was extraordinarily impressive, he said, ‘We, as Christians, are asked to take a very great deal on trust; the teachings, for example, and the miracles of Jesus. If we had to take all on trust, I, for one, should be skeptical. The crux of the problem of whether Jesus was, or was not, what he proclaimed himself to be, must surely depend upon the truth or otherwise of the resurrection. On that greatest point we are not merely asked to have faith. In its favor as living truth there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.”
It is the fact of the resurrection that validates everything that Jesus said. Jesus did not make spurious claims. He taught that to know him was to know God, to see Him was to see God, to believe in him was to believe in God, to obey him was to obey God, to honor him was to honor God, to hate him was to hate God.
Other religious leaders have made similar claims. But none could ever validate them as Christ did. He demonstrated his claims to deity by rising from the dead.
Another dimension to the significance of Jesus’ resurrection is what it means for the present. If Christ is not dead, then he is still alive today.
John R.W. Stott, renowned evangelical author and preacher, has noted: “Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.” After the crucifixion of Christ, the disciples were certain that their movement was over and dead. But after the resurrection, their demeanor completely changed and in the face of incredible opposition and impossible odds, with an incomparable boldness they proclaimed a living Christ everywhere.
Today millions of people around the world will readily testify to the power of the living Jesus who changed their lives.
In 1997, after a brief visit with Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, a newspaper reporter asked me if my life had been changed by meeting the twentieth century’s most famous humanitarian. I said, “No, but my life was radically changed at the age of 14 when I let the living presence of Christ into my life.”
It is a living Christ, not a dead one that has the power to change a person’s life.
A third dimension to Christ’s resurrection is what it means for the future.
In Scottsdale, Arizona, eighty-eight persons are banking on the idea that modern science will someday find or engineer a fountain of youth. At the Alcor Life Extension Foundation, these eighty-eight people paid tens of thousands of dollars to be frozen in liquid nitrogen, after legal death, at minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit. This they did in the hope their bodies would survive the day when medical science discovers a way to make death and aging a thing of the past.
As one can imagine, cryonics, as it is called, has its share of critics and skeptics. Nevertheless Thomas Donaldson, a fifty-year-old member of Alcor, who hadn’t yet taken advantage of its services, brushed aside the nay sayers and explained to reporters why he was willing to give cryonics a try. “For some strange reason”, he said, “I like being alive…I don’t want to die. Okay, guys?”
For those, like Donaldson, who like being alive, there’s great news! Jesus Christ has risen from the dead with an eternal, resurrection body. He has utterly defeated death. And all who believe in Him have the promise of also being raised from the dead with an eternal resurrection body!!!!
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life, he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).
Indeed, there is a 3-D effect to Easter. An event of the past – in this case the resurrection of Christ – has present day ramifications which produce future day expectations.