The Resurrection and the Secular Mind
- Wednesday, April 06, 2011
This is what Tom Phillips said to Chuck Colson: "I have accepted Jesus Christ. I have committed my life to Him and it has been the most marvelous experience of my whole life."
Colson says, "My expression revealed my shock. I struggled for safe ground. 'Uh, maybe sometime you and I can discuss that, Tom.' If I hadn't restrained myself, I would have blurted out, 'What are you talking about? Jesus Christ lived two thousand years ago, a great moral leader, of course, and doubtless divinely inspired. But why would anyone "accept" Him or "commit one's life to Him?" as if he were around today.'"
Tom Phillips gave Chuck Colson a book to read, a book by C.S. Lewis entitled Mere Christianity. In that book, Lewis talks about what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. Particularly, what it means to believe that Jesus Christ really is God in human flesh, who lived and died and rose again and ascended to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God. What does it mean to believe in that Jesus? Lewis says:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a great moral teacher and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up as a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to. (pp. 55-56)
And Chuck Colson, Hatchet Man, made his choice. In his own words, "Early that Friday morning, while I sat alone staring at the sea I love, words I had not been certain I could understand or say fell naturally from my lips: 'Lord Jesus, I believe you. I accept you. Please come into my life. I commit it to you.'"
He wrote a best-selling book about his story called born again. He says in the book that when news spread of his conversion, people couldn't believe it. They thought he was kidding. He says one relative thought the strain of Watergate had been too much. She wrote to a mutual friend: "I'm afraid poor Chuck has snapped, gone over the edge. This kind of religious fervor is often the sign of mental instability."
No Middle Ground
When it comes to Easter, there are two things the people of the world cannot understand. First, they cannot understand the Resurrection. It is a miracle which baffles the mind. Secular man cannot deal with it. Second, because they can't deal with the Resurrection, they can't figure out anyone who can. They think we've all gone nuts.
But in the words of Paul when he replied to Festus, we are not mad. What we believe is both true and reasonable. This thing was not done in the corner. The evidence is there for all to see. The empty tomb is still empty. No one has ever found the bones of Jesus. No one ever will. So far from being a myth or legend, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ stands as the best-attested fact in all human history. And we invite everyone—skeptics and scholars alike—to examine the evidence and come to their own conclusions.
What should we do with all this? If you've never made the choice, it's time to come to grips with it. Where do you stand on the question of Jesus Christ? With Festus or with Paul? With Cullen Murphy or with Chuck Colson? With secular man or with the church of Jesus Christ? No question is more important, more crucial, more vital.
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