"Judge not, and ye shall not be judged:
condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned:
forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:"
- Luke 6:37
by Bill Pepper
The resurrection of Jesus Christ puts every one who ever lived after that miraculous event on notice. Never, in all of human history, has there been another person who, of His own volition, returned from the dead. His resurrection is indeed unique and, if true, a singularly momentous signal from God no less spectacular than if a cosmic lightning storm flashed across our galaxy from star to star and from end to end. Every individual on earth who ever heard of Christ’s resurrection is accountable for what he or she did about it.
Of all the major religions, only Christianity makes such a claim- not Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Taoism of Confucianism. These major religions all share virtues of goodness with Christianity. They value truth and could hardly countenance a lie like a false claim that their principal figure returned from the dead. Christianity alone has survived with a bodily resurrection at its core.
Many, many splinter religions have come and gone through the centuries -none having lasted with such a story that the leader returned from the dead and was seen on earth again. In fact, the religions of the non-Christian world either deny that Christ rose or they inferentially reject the clear implication that God has spoken to all mankind through that event.
Because the initiative to seek God comes from within the heart of man, it follows that the same impulse leads him to respond to the news, validated by the resurrection, that God gave His Son that man also might live forever. Primitive man sought God through contemplating the wonders of the creation. King David observed this when he penned Psalm 53:1-2: “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” God looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God? “(NIV)
Those who lived before Christ looked forward to His coming. Those who live afterward must account to God for how they respond to Christ and His resurrection. Hebrews 1:1-2 tells us. In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe.
We are promised that if we seek we shall find (Matthew 7:7), And we will find that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled all prophecy when He hung on the cross, died, was buried and returned to walk again over a period of 40 days (Acts 1;3), appearing not only to the apostles but also to more than 500 (I Corinthians 15:6).
We are touched and awed by the realization that Christ went to the cross as a sacrifice for our sins and that He rose again to conquer sin and death! All of our sins are taken away if we but confess Him as follow Him obediently. Christ promised, I go and prepare a place for you? (John 14:3). The proof is in His resurrection.
– Bill Pepper worships with the University City Church of Christ in Gainesville, Fla. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with permission from the Gospel Advocate, Nashville, Tennessee