The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ from his tomb is the defining moment for all world history, and for each one of us. It puts the Christian faith into its own league, separate from all of the other worldviews and grand narratives in the world today. Let’s consider some contrasts.
- While we believe the events of the Old Testament happened, the evidence and reasoning that Jews can provide in support for their own scriptures is not nearly as strong as the evidence Christians can provide on the basis of Jesus’ resurrection. They also misunderstand the point of the Scriptures as long as one of their core beliefs is that Jesus is not the Messiah. And of course, the Jewish leadership at the time of Christ could not produce His dead body to disprove the Gospel, despite having all of the political advantages, resources, and motivation to do so. They couldn’t because His tomb was empty, just as the religion of the Jews has become.
- Islam claims that Muhammad adds to Jesus’ teaching and corrects what Christians believe about Him. However, Muhammad did not rise from the dead himself, and was unable to provide contrary evidence that would disprove the testimony of Jesus’ resurrection. Besides that, the text of the Qur’an is settled without any variants because after Muhammad’s time, all other conflicting versions of it were intentionally destroyed. So as historical testimony, it’s not nearly as strong as the witness of the New Testament.
- Secularists claim that faith or values are subjective, private, and personal matters, which will naturally conflict from person to person, while the true universal explanation of human origins and the meaning of life comes from science. However, the scientific explanations secularists provide are subject to scientific criticism and therefore uncertain. Their explanatory models change frequently. Secularists also presume their conclusion: that God did not create everything, and miracles do not occur. This is a logical fallacy. Meanwhile, Jesus’ resurrection (a miracle) enjoys a massive amount of historical and testimonial evidence. Evaluated using the same reasoning used to determine the facts of history and the fate of the accused in court, a reasonable person would conclude that Christ is risen indeed. That means the Christian faith is not subjective, but objectively true.
- Hedonists and Epicureans believe that the most important thing is to enjoy your life in the present: minimize suffering, and maximize pleasure. Why? Because as video gamers like to say: “YOLO!” This stands for “You only live once.” So you might as well make the most of the little time you have. As our society degenerates, this philosophy has been growing in strength. But the resurrection of Jesus as a real fact of life should shock these people into re-examining their philosophy and way of life. The risen Christ confirms what He taught, which says that God is taking a direct interest in the way we live. He also has promised that we will also rise, and all the faithful in Christ will enjoy eternal pleasures, but those who deny Him will face everlasting suffering.
- Stoics and Buddhists have ways of coping with suffering in this world. Their philosophies have helped many people, because suffering is universal. Yet their help is still empty compared to the message of Christ: the Son of God who participated in human life, suffering under God’s wrath against all sin, which is the true cause of evil. The Gospel would be just another way to cope with suffering alongside these philosophies, just another option — except that Jesus did rise from the dead as He said He would. That means that the Gospel is not just another philosophy, but the true philosophy, demonstrated by God himself. The Christian faith is the true way to cope with suffering.
Hopefully this helps you see what a deep and permanent impact the resurrection of Jesus makes in the world. We hear many of the false perspectives above each day. Part of our response as Christians may always be “Christ is risen!”