(Note: 'The Nightly Daily' is taking a break for the holiday season. Look for new material on Monday, April 13. Please take time to consider the events that will be commemorated in the coming days. As always, thanks for reading.)
On Sunday, millions of Christians worldwide will celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus.
For Christians, the Resurrection is the pivotal event of our faith. If it were not for this event, Christianity would crumble and could easily be classified as the biggest hoax of all time.
Without the Resurrection, Jesus would have been just another false prophet who did not deliver on what He promised.
I know these are strong words, but it is impossible for me to over-emphasize this holiday's importance.
For all the hype that Christmas receives, the Resurrection’s importance dwarfs it and then some. Simply put, deciding whether Jesus rose from the dead or not is the most important question a person will ever answer.
When analyzing whether Jesus rose, one of the most compelling pieces of evidence supporting this event is the behavior of those closest to Him.
When Jesus was arrested and crucified, His disciples ran for their lives. They were terrified, and Peter went as far as to publicly deny Him three times.
Some are quick to criticize Peter, but we should all know better. When the heat is on, it is part of our human nature to want to save our own skin, and that is all he was doing.
All Christians at some point have denied Jesus only it was not documented in the best-selling book of all time so people could read about it throughout the centuries. Jesus forgave Peter and that is good enough for me.
The main point here is that the disciples had hit rock bottom. Their Master was dead, and they were terrified for their lives because of threats from religious leaders, Roman authorities, and the public in general.
However, compare their behavior at this point to their behavior only a few days later. Not only did they stop running, but they began to actively proclaim the Gospel, knowing it would bring them suffering and hardship.
What could have caused such a reversal in just a few short days? They met the resurrected Jesus.
As previously stated, they fled with fear after Jesus was arrested and crucified. It would have taken a supernatural event to cause such a dramatic turnaround.
This is exactly what happened. The reality of Jesus' Resurrection hit them right between the eyes. Despite the torture and hardship that awaited them, they willingly took the Gospel into the world.
Consider for a moment what these men were undertaking. These men were basically peasants with no power, and they were going to challenge the most powerful empire in the world.
The message they would carry would rattle society, and if nothing else, history shows us the Romans were not patient when it came to events that caused instability within their empire.
Again, why would they do this? Because they were absolutely certain what they believed in was true. The reality of the Resurrection of Jesus cemented His teachings in their hearts.
People don’t suffer and die for something they know to be a lie or a hoax. A person would be insane to willingly suffer in the ways these men suffered if they knew it was all a lie. These men faced public humiliation in ways that have been rarely experienced.
History is littered with people who committed to a cause but then jumped ship as soon as it got tough.
However, it did not work that way with the disciples. They did not compromise. They knew what was true, and their commitment impacts us thousands of years later.