Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
In Part 1, I was talking about the most influential people in the past history. There have been great names and great achievements, but none have ever eclipsed what Jesus Christ did by his life, death and resurrection.
Some of the most notable people and greatest minds in the past 100 years were considered crazy by their peers until they substantiated their claims. Jesus was ridiculed for the things he had said. As he hung on the cross he was ridiculed and mocked by some who said, “So—you’re going to destroy the Temple and build it in three days. Come down from the cross and save yourself. You saved others, but You can’t save yourself”. Even his own disciples abandoned him and fled for their lives; but when he rose from the grave, Jesus proved that he was the Christ, God’s Messiah.
Jesus substantiated all his claims. Many believed him when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever puts their faith in Me will live even though he die”. It made sense because Jesus overcame death. He was seen by lots of people after his resurrection and many believed in him, and his followers literally turned the world upside down.
And today the message of Jesus is just as fresh and relevant and powerful as it was back then, because Jesus still lives. Millions of trustworthy people testify today to having met Jesus and relate to a risen Christ. These people come from every different culture, and are not crazy. They actually know Jesus and have put their faith and trust in him.
It was this Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth and the life”. He is the only One worthy of our faith because he is the Son of God. The Christian faith is not based on some religious whim of what you fancy—it is based on historical fact that Jesus Christ died and rose from the grave.
In the Newsweek magazine, Billy Graham was quoted as saying,
I have crossed paths with people who hold virtually every kind of religious and philosophical view imaginable. But as the years have gone by, I myself have become even more convinced of the uniqueness and truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not just another great religious teacher—He was Truth itself. He was God incarnate. Jesus alone is God’s answer to life’s deepest problems. I have seen Him bring changes in the lives of countless individuals who have turned to Him in true repentance and faith.
The day that changed history
Faith in Christ is valid only because Jesus rose from the dead. No other religious leader defeated death except Jesus.
This is a big matter, because it changed everything about life and the way we live. The resurrection of Jesus proves that eternity is real, and we must think about issues of eternity before it’s too late. How can we compare things like our career, money or pleasure? They are nothing compared to eternity.
Think of the early Christians who were prepared to die for their beliefs. They had no doubt about eternity. A sociologist discovered that when the deadly plagues hit citizens of the ancient Roman empire—and he was fascinated at the Christians response—the Romans threw people out on the streets at the first symptoms of the disease because they knew it was contagious and they were afraid of dying.
But the Christians stayed and nursed the sick. Why did they do that? They knew death for them was not the end. The resurrection of Jesus caused these early Christians to focus on things of eternal significance. So, they had special compassion for the widows, orphans, the aged, and the infirm. Their life had an eternal dimension, and that made all the difference, as it can for us as well.
We need not fear death, even though it is a topic people don’t like to talk about. Paul said to the Corinthian Christians, “If Christ has not been raised, then those who have died in Christ have perished” (1 Corinthians 15). The resurrection of Jesus takes away the fear of death for those who put their trust in him. Hebrews 2:15 says that Jesus came to “free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death”.
No wonder Jesus says to us, “Do not be afraid”. The sting of death has gone because of what Jesus has done for us. We can put our faith in a risen Lord who says, “he who believes in Me will live even though he dies”.
The day Jesus rose from the grave is a day that did change the course of history. It can change your life and your perspective on life.
Source: Redland Baptist Church