Recently our President said, "There's somethin' about the Resurrection, somethin' about the Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective."
True! However, for most Christians, that is a bit of an understatement. Christians are supposed to believe that Jesus Christ is part of the tri-un God.
Even on the day of his crucifixion, the overwhelming majority of people believed Jesus to be a prophet. Other than Peter, who declared Jesus to be the Messiah, there is reason to believe that most of Jesus' disciples were not convinced of his divinity. The resurrection changed that.
The cornerstone of Christianity is the resurrection. It is one thing for a living man to bring the dead back to life. That could be either some sort of a trick or powerful magic. However, for a dead man, dead long enough to stink, to bring him back from the dead is entirely another thing. That is proof of divinity. That is the fulfillment of the prophecies and proof that he is the promised Messiah.
Imagine that ancient remains were found that could be conclusively proven by science to be the bodily remains of Jesus Christ. What would that mean? How would that affect the Christian faith?
There were several people proclaimed the Messiah both before and after Jesus. The last one so proclaimed led the Jews in war with Rome, which ultimately resulted in the utter destruction of Israel and the Diaspora of the Jewish people. What were the names of these people? Where are their followers? Why are they virtually lost to history? The Resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
But for the Resurrection, who would know about Jesus? At the crucifixion, how many of Jesus' followers fled? How many lost their faith forever? Even Thomas the Apostle, after living with Jesus for three years, refused to believe in the resurrection until he could stick his fingers into Jesus' hands and put his hand in Jesus' side. But for his resurrection, what would have come of Jesus' teachings?
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, he would not merely be a well-meaning misguided fool. He would be a manipulator and liar of the most evil kind. The people closest to him abandoned everything, including spouses and children, to follow him. Most of them died like gentle lambs taken to slaughter in his name. How many have forsaken all and killed or been killed in his name?
There's just something about the Resurrection that puts everything in perspective; that sets Jesus apart from all other religious figures. "Wealth and power naturally accumulate to the strong and powerful. It is the natural place for the weak to be plundered and subjugated." This was the guiding philosophy of the Romans and others.
Jesus taught that when you are struck on the face, you should turn the other cheek for your enemy to strike that one also. How could such a way of life survive in a hostile world; a world of non-Christians who believe like the Romans? In fact, vast numbers of the devout did not survive as they were scapegoated by Nero for the burning of Rome and persecuted by him and succeeding Emperors until Christianity took over the empire in the Fourth Century. Christianity overcame 300 years of state sanctioned bloody persecution.
I don't fault our President for his statement. Clearly he is correct. Moreover, it is hard to fault him for the understatement, as both his father and stepfather were Moslems; he spent his formative years in an Islamic country, and was schooled in a Madras. The fact that he has accepted Jesus as his Savior speaks volumes to the power of the Christian faith.
There's something about the Resurrection. Indeed there is. As a Christian, I believe that when Christ suffered the physical torment of beatings, scourging, carrying his cross, falling, and crucifixion, when Christ suffered the humiliation of being mocked, spit upon, stripped naked and his property gambled away, when Christ suffered the failings of his closest friends, suffered the fore knowledge of what was to come causing sweat of blood, being forsaken by his heavenly father, being tormented in Hell for three days, and taking on the guilt of all sins for all time, Christ redeemed me even though I am unworthy. The power to redeem me is proved by his power to subjugate death.
Eternal Father, I offer you the body, blood, soul, and divinity of your most beloved son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for my sins and the sins of the whole world. Amen.