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“The early Christians did not invent the empty tomb and the meetings or sighting of the risen Jesus. … Nobody was expecting this kind of thing; no kind of conversion experience would have invented it, no matter how guilty (or how forgiven) they felt, no matter how many hours they pored over the Scriptures. To suggest otherwise is to stop doing history and enter into a fantasy world of our own." (N. T. Wright)


“It is not enough for the skeptic, then, to simply dismiss the Christian teaching about the resurrection of Jesus by saying, 'It just couldn’t have happened.' He or she must face and answer all these historical questions: Why did Christianity emerge so rapidly, with such power? No other band of messianic followers in that era concluded their leader was raised from the dead-why did this group do so? No group of Jews ever worshipped a human being as God. What led them to do it? Jews did not believe in divine men or individual resurrections. What changed their worldview virtually overnight? How do you account for the hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection who lived on for decades and publicly maintained their testimony, eventually giving their lives for their beliefs?... Each year at Easter I get to preach on the resurrection. In my sermon I always say to my skeptical, secular friends that, even if they can’t believe in the resurrection, they should want it to be true. Most of them care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment. Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by an accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually burn up in the death of the sun. They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place.” (Tim Keller, The Reason for God)



"Resurrection is the hinge pin of the Christian faith. Can I share a bit of my own journey with you? My childhood situation was troubled, so when I left home for college, I felt like I had escaped like a bird from a dark cage. But as a college student the countless new options available to me set me reeling. I could be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to do. Each day I decided how to live my life: how to use my time, pick my friends and do as I pleased. On one hand that felt exciting, but on the other I realized that if I picked a bad road I’d have no one else to blame for my poor decisions. I didn’t want to admit it, but I felt overwhelmed. Yet at that very time a friend from high school confronted me with this matter of the resurrection.

"I had been reading the Bible with him for several weeks, and had been shaken by the picture of Christ that I’d never seen before. I was attracted to Jesus, but I had so many doubts. And to add to my hesitations, I had some inkling of the colossal implications that true faith in Christ would mean for my life. I was trapped in indecision.

"So with razor clarity, my friend focused my attention to the very heart of the matter. He simply said, 'Well there really are only two ways this story can play out. Jesus really did rise from the dead, or he really didn’t. If he rose, then all that the Scriptures say regarding Him are true. He is truly divine, the very Creator of the universe. And if He is God, then the only reasonable response you can make is to give Him your entire life.

"'If on the other hand, Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, he was simply just another philosopher, one of many the world has known. If Jesus body is still in the tomb, it really doesn’t matter who you follow. Any road will do. But your decision must hinge on the Resurrection.'

"I took that as both a powerful insight and a personal challenge. Really all of my life rightly would hinge on this one central issue. Did Jesus rise from the dead, proving all that this Book declares, or not? I set out to discover once and for all, to be convinced, YES or NO, did Jesus really rise or not?

"Well, I found my answer. I became convinced beyond reasonable doubt that Jesus died on the cross, rose again on the third day, conquering death, to pay in full my sin debt, and to release me from my guilt and shame. He earned the right to be both my Master and my Lover. So I trusted Him and asked the Living Lord Jesus to enter my life and take control. I began to serve Him and enjoy Him in an intimate love relationship.

"I would be amiss if I failed to tell you what happened inside my heart. When I trusted Christ to accept me as His child and to come and be my Lord, for the first time in my life I felt loved, profoundly, wonderfully loved. Now, that’s not everyone’s experience, but the Lord knew what I needed. I had God as my closest companion and my deepest friend. I knew that nothing could ever separate me from His love, and I sensed that even when I slept He was with me, to cover me with his love.

"You see, because Jesus is alive, He is able to love us, to lead us, and to teach us how to live lives in His resurrection power. Now, living in His resurrection power, we can love a spouse that is hard to live with. By His victory over sin we can say goodbye to bad habits like a sharp cutting tongue or fits of anger. We can look at the opposite sex as a beautiful sister or brother rather than as a sex object. In resurrection power we can raise our children to engage life with courage and hope. We can practice the reality that it is truly is more blessed to give than receive. We can defend the defenseless, and care for the needy, and bring good news to the captives. We can love because He first loved us. And we can look at death square in the face with a smile. Because Jesus conquered death what can mere man do to us? We can seek first God’s kingdom rather than simply storing up treasures here. (Chris Faith)

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