Much of the world will be celebrating Easter this week. Unfortunately, in the West, secular humanism has relegated the Christian Easter to mere “Easter bunnies” and “Easter eggs.”
That degeneration can be closely linked to Western society’s replacement of “thinking” with “feeling.” We have replaced the thermostat with the thermometer. We have given up on rigorous intellectual debate of facts and irrefutable truth and replaced it with “that’s fine if that’s how you feel about it.”
Perhaps the trend is no clearer than when the media—and consequently, the man on the street—expresses an opinion on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In the past, people either accepted or rejected Christ’s resurrection as a fact of history. But in today’s post-modern culture—where most of the “thinking” takes place between the nose and the chin—people are apt to say, “Jesus rose from the dead? So what?”
That attitude perpetuates apathy about the most important event in human history, which in turn causes people to miss out on the greatest news they could ever personally experience—news that brought about Western civilization itself.
For the thinking person, Christ’s resurrection is the best news ever because the evidence for it is overwhelming:
1. It was recorded by four independent accounts, which accurately reported many small details, such as the number of angels at the tomb, the number of women who went to the tomb, the time of their arrival, and the overall sequence of events. All the accounts are easily harmonized.
2. The removal of the tombstone and the presence of the grave cloth proved that Jesus’ body was no longer in the tomb. In the culture of that day, and with such a dense population, it would have been impossible to hide a body if it were stolen. The authorities could have easily produced it.
3. After Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared to not just a few women in the garden, but to a wide variety of people, including a group of 500. Surely 500 people could not have suffered a hallucination at the same time.
4. The resurrection changed things in dramatic ways, such as the change in the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday. But the greatest evidence of all might be how it changed the disciples and instilled in them a willingness to die a martyr’s death. Surely they would not have been willing to die a decade or two later for a lie or hallucination.
As English educator and historian Thomas Arnold once said: “I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort . . . than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”
In fact, some of the best books on the resurrection were written by lawyers (Frank Morison, Gilbert West, J.N.D. Anderson, among others)—some of whom had originally set out to disprove the resurrection.
Sir Edward Clark, another English jurist, once wrote: “As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences of the first Easter day. To me the evidence is conclusive and over and over again in the high court, I secured the verdict on evidence not nearly as compelling…”
That’s why the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest news of all—it is indeed great news, not just a great story. It is the ultimate truth, not just an opportunity to eat chocolate bunnies.
And because it is true, every human on the face of the earth must respond to it one way or another. Our individual eternal future, and the future of civilization, depends on it.