How Easter Changed The World

It’s no exaggeration to say that the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed the world. And like with the largest fires, as we saw with Notre Dame, it began with the smallest spark.
 
It changed the world by first changing the lives of Jesus’ disciples. One of the most convincing proofs for the truthfulness of the resurrection is what happened to these men. Think of their mental state on Friday. One of them betrayed him. One of them denied him. All but one of them fled for their lives when he was arrested. Yet 50 days later, these simpletons and cowards took to the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming that Jesus Christ had risen from the grave. And each one of these men except for John would in time be violently put to death for continuing to make that claim. They would not take it back. No one reneged. Only one thing explains this. Jesus rose. And they knew it.
 
From there the wildfire spread. By the end of the first century, Christians were found in every major metropolitan center of the Roman empire. By the end of the second century, it was found in Africa and India. By the third century it reached England. “We are but of yesterday!” a famous Christian named Tertullian wrote to the Roman authorities. “And we have filled every place among you. Cities, islands, fortresses, towns, palace, senate, forum – we have left you only your temples, and you can have them.”
 
But here’s the important question. Why did Christianity spread so far, so fast? It didn’t spread the way Islam would spread six centuries later – at swordpoint with people being forced into conversion. The Christians carried no swords, and they were the ones being hunted down. The only explanation that makes sense is that Jesus had risen from the grave. The power of the risen Christ with them.
 
The Bible comes right out and says that it’s the resurrection that proves the truthfulness of Christianity. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14 – “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
 
This isn’t to say there’s no evidence for Christ outside of the resurrection. Jesus’ life gives plenty of reason to follow him and worship him. The way he fulfilled ancient prophecies. I can show you more than 60 specific prophecies in the Old Testament, written centuries before he was born, which he fulfilled with dramatic precision. Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22 describe specific details about Jesus’ crucifixion – that he would have his hands and feet pierced, that he would die alongside criminals, that his clothing would be gambled for. It’s as if the writers of these prophecies – Isaiah and David – were eyewitnesses to the crucifixion. But you should know that Isaiah wrote his prophecy 700 years before Christ was born, and David 900 years.
 
There’s plenty of other evidence though than this. The way Jesus completed and fulfilled so many Old Testament pictures of salvation, like the priesthood, and sacrifices and the festivals and the Passover lamb.
 
No one spoke like Jesus – his teaching was beyond compare.
 
No one lived like Jesus. Find a sin in him, I dare you. You can find sin in Moses, in Buddha, in Mohammed, you can find sin in all the Greek and Roman gods, but not Jesus.
 
No one loved like Jesus – the care he showed for children at a time when children were treated scarcely better than dogs. The dignity with which he regarded women, who at that time were nothing but second-class citizens. The compassion with which he treated foreigners, Gentiles.
 
He was not a man of his time. It was as if he had parachuted in from outside of time, which is what would be the case if God came to earth as a human.
 
The evidence for Christianity is overwhelming even without the resurrection.But for Christians, the resurrection clinches the deal. The resurrection proves that Jesus’ death worked. That it accomplished what it was meant to accomplish. It proves that our sins are forgiven. That we really do have eternal life in Christ. The resurrection is heaven’s confirmation number that the Father accepted the transaction that Jesus paid for with his life. Without it, we would have reason to wonder.
 
Now we have every motivation to follow hard after Jesus.

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