And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” —Paul the Apostle (1 Corinthians 15:14,19-20 NIV)

First of all, I want to let you know about a few cool things that happened this last weekend. We saw a number of people give their lives to Christ at the Fearless outreach in Brockport, NY, and at our CD Release Concert in Lima, NY. A few testimonies stand out: In Brockport, an avowed atheist came with some friends and was so shaken by the gospel that she not only believed in God, but received Christ! At the CD release concert in Lima, a young, unwed, pregnant woman came with a friend, and her baby “leapt in her womb” during the worship. She was deeply moved by this, and afterward, received Christ!

That there was enough power in the room to make an atheist believe and make an unborn baby leap reminded me of one thing: Jesus is alive!

With as many enemies as there are that rage against the Christian faith, seeking to demolish our existence, shut us up, or make us irrelevant, the Light of the World still continues to shine brightly in our generation!

French skeptic Voltaire once said in the 1700’s, “It took twelve men to establish Christianity, and I will show the world that it will take one man to destroy it.” His house is now being used by a Bible distribution center.

German God-hater Nietzsche once said, “God is dead.” When I was in college, I saw that someone had scratched this into a door in one of the classrooms: “Nietzsche is dead.”

Jesus is alive and well, and despite the best efforts of those who hate Him, He will reign forever!

If you look at the Scripture that starts this blog, you will realize that even Paul the Apostle concedes that the Christian faith stands or falls with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He actually concludes that if the resurrection didn’t happen, “…we are to be pitied more than all men.” And it’s true! If Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, then everything we believe is a joke, and we are basing our entire lives on a lie. How pathetic that would be!

But I am a believer. That means I believe stuff other people don’t believe. And I believe that the most concrete, irrefutable fact in the universe is that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead! I say this not only because of historical proof (see Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict); not only because of all the signs and wonders that continue to happen in the world today through His name; but more than all that, He lives in my heart. He has made Himself so real to me that, by His grace, I’m willing to live my entire life for Him! I’ve heard it said that, “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.”

How can I ever deny Him when He has been so faithful to prove Himself to my doubting heart? John, a disciple of Christ’s, when attempting to convince unbelievers of the gospel, began this way: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life” (John 1:1).

John pointed at the reality of Jesus Christ in his own life as one of the most compelling reasons to consider Christ’s claims! And isn’t that what people want? No one wants to base their life merely on an historical record or on some report from someone who saw something somwhere sometime. Though these things can ignite faith, ultimately we all want to experience it ourselves.

We live in a pluralistic society that’s telling us, “There are many ways to the top of the mountain. Believe whatever you want to believe with all your heart and you’ll be OK.” Christ’s death and resurrection stand in opposition to that thinking. If all religions are the same or sincere belief in anything is good enough, then why did Jesus have to die on a cross? Charles Spurgeon said, “Infinite wisdom never attempts something that is unnecessary.” Jesus knew that the only way to redeem mankind was through His substitionary sacrifice. Otherwise, we’d all be left in our sin, and with the penalty of it.

“So how do we know what’s the right way?” so many ask today. “Aren’t all religions basically the same?”

What makes Jesus stand out? Four things, really: His virgin birth, His sinless and miraculous life, His death (and the supernatural events surrounding it), and His resurrection. For the sake of simplicity, let’s just focus on His resurrection. Compare this alone with every other religion and philosophy. Buddha is dead. Muhammed is dead. Aristotle is dead. Nietzsche is dead. Jesus is alive! Let me put it to you this way: If I were to bet on a horse race with nine dead horses and one living one, I’d put my money on the living horse. Wouldn’t you?

This is Resurrection Week. If you’re a believer in Jesus, pick up your head. For I know that my Redeemer lives and in the end I shall see Him on that day! Tell the world about what you have seen and heard. If you are a seeker, consider the amazing life and death and life (I can’t say that phrase for anyone else!!) of Christ, and don’t bet on the dead horse.

Order Discipleship by Grace, Derek’s new book, at Amani Records.

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