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Faith rises, falls with the resurrection message

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, April 06, 2007

He was a college student struggling with honest questions about life here and hereafter. His search had taken him away from the childhood beliefs instilled by his parents.

Intriguing philosophical and cultic arguments appealed to his desire to be known by his supposed intellectual friends as a deep thinker in search of truth.

Finally, however, he was forced to face life’s most important question: “Did Jesus Christ rise from the grave?”

This searching student wasn’t the first to conclude that faith rises or falls with the resurrection.

Paul, the apostle, thought by many to have been one of the greatest thinkers ever, said apart from the resurrection, all preaching would be a waste of time, all faith a delusion and every grave a place of despair. Paul didn’t allow his readers to remain long in limbo on these life and death issues, however, writing, “But now is Christ risen from the dead,” reminding all doubters that more than 500 people then living had seen the risen Christ.

The crucifixion of Christ had been difficult for his disciples to accept or understand but shouldn’t have taken them by surprise.

On one occasion, he had called them together and revealed that upon reaching Jerusalem he would be betrayed, mocked, whipped, put to death and on the third day following these events rise again.

In Luke 18:31-33, he had said that his suffering and death would fulfill Old Testament prophecies, but when the crisis came, these frightened ones forgot his words and faithlessly fled for their lives.

Strangely, the eyewitnesses of the resurrection were at first reluctant to believe.

While the enemies of Jesus remembered his promise to rise again, his friends seem to have forgotten it.

Matthew Henry, the noted Bible commentator, concludes this is because hate is keener sighted than love.

Perhaps.

Even the women who made their way to the tomb that first Easter morning had somehow missed the message. They were carrying spices to anoint and preserve the body of the one who had declared that death wouldn’t be able to hold him in its icy grip.

“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” he had said.

There they were, however, on a journey of unbelief.

What changed the minds of these sincere but doubting women? An early morning earthquake and an empty tomb, Matthew 28:2.

Moments after the earth began to move beneath their feet they discovered that the stone placed at the mouth of the tomb had been rolled away, ending their doubts forever. The reality of the resurrection made these women missionaries who were soon on their way to tell the disciples the good news that Christ had risen.

Faith often follows fearful experiences. Trust frequently follows trembling times. Truth finally triumphs over error.

Many have discovered the living One their source of peace and strength when the world was shaking.

Easter says death doesn’t get the last word after all.

The disciples would soon be reunited with the One they loved; providing a sure guarantee: the same will be true for you and me.

Roger Campbell is an author, radio broadcaster and newspaper columnist from Waterford, Mich.

He has written more than 20 books and has had articles published in most major Christian magazines. He was a pastor for 22 years and has been a guest speaker in Alaska churches from Anchorage to Homer.



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