“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.” ― Charles W. Colson
The resurrection of Christ Jesus. So what is the big deal? Many people choose to ignore the resurrection, paying no attention to anything Christian, or for some, anything “religious.” Others deny the resurrection, saying it likely never happened, or that Jesus never died, revived from his torture-induced unconsciousness, lived a life, and later died. Often added to this view are the extra details of his supposed marriage, children, etc. Others are more vehement in their opposition, attacking the idea of the resurrection as a dangerous myth perpetrated upon weak-minded people who will believe such stories. Or variations on that theme.
So what is the big deal? If the resurrection never happened, then there is no basis for the Christian faith. False hope based upon false belief.
But if the resurrection did happen, that one event changes everything. Everything. For if the resurrection happened as witnesses report that it happened, there is a God. He is intimately concerned with people. He has power over death, and has love sufficient to ransom all from a hopeless and helpless situation in which all are separated from Him. And He is doing amazing things to end that separation. The Gospel message is, well, the truth.
Many people are very uncomfortable with that idea, the Gospel message being true. They are uncomfortable with resurrection being true, because it implies that the Gospel message is the truth. And if these are true, we are accountable to the meaning of them, and God behind them.
There are really no events in ancient history that are as well-documented – using any normal, reasonable, historical standard for good documentation – as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It stands alone and above events of that era in terms of historical evidence. If we choose to not believe the evidence for the resurrection, truly no event of that era is believable.
“No tabloid will ever print the startling news that the mummified body of Jesus of Nazareth has been discovered in old Jerusalem. Christians have no carefully embalmed body enclosed in a glass case to worship. Thank God, we have an empty tomb. The glorious fact that the empty tomb proclaims to us is that life for us does not stop when death comes. Death is not a wall, but a door.” ― Peter Marshall
Perhaps the largest reason people choose to not believe or deal with the resurrection of Christ Jesus is that it demonstrated the power of our God over death, and His great love for all humankind. Perhaps it is the idea that a personal God is deeply interested in each one of us, and has a purpose for our living is too threatening to our habit of being. Perhaps it is these issues that are the hardest for people to accept.
“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” – Timothy J. Keller