I’ve been thinking lately about the resurrection of Jesus. It is the rock-solid foundation for our faith, and we should ponder it not just at Easter, but throughout the year. It is, among other things, essential to Christ’s victory over sin and death, and therefore essential to our deliverance from the Hell we deserve. It is our guarantee of the Heaven (and New Earth) that we don’t deserve, but which by the blood-bought assurances of Jesus we will forever enjoy, with Him and with all who love and trust Him.
One of the quotations I’ve collected on this (for a book project I’ve been working on) is particularly meaningful, because it comes from Chuck Colson, whose ministry Prison Fellowship we’ve supported with my book royalties. I came to know and love Chuck, and he was a friend I have greatly missed since his death in 2012. As special counsel to President Nixon, known as the “White House Hatchet Man,” he was one of the most powerful men in the world. He was prominent in the Watergate scandal that brought Nixon and himself and others down. Then in prison Chuck came to faith in Christ and was radically transformed. If you want to learn more about this remarkable brother, see my tribute to him after his death.
Here’s what Chuck Colson said about the resurrection of Jesus:
I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren't true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn't keep a lie for three weeks. You're telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.
Here are some Scripture and other quotations about the resurrection. I really enjoyed collecting these quotes, and hope they speak to you as they do to me:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” —Peter, 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he dies, yet shall he live...” —Jesus, John 11:25-26 ESV
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.” —Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17 ESV
“Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart. If you remove it, Christianity is destroyed.” —John Stott
“If Christ be not risen, the dreadful consequence is not that death ends life, but that we are still in our sins.” —Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy
“The Gospels do not explain the resurrection; the resurrection explains the Gospels. Belief in the resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith; it is the Christian faith.” —John S. Whale
“Temporary or unstable hope for the future is not enough—our hope must be permanent and unchangeable. …We were created by God to enjoy an unending relationship with him (Ecclesiastes 3:11), but sin stands in our way. Something deep within us cries out against that separation, and we want to believe there is more to life than what we’re seeing in the here and now. God’s ultimate answer to our longing for eternal life is the precious gift of his own Son. Jesus gave us all the assurance we will ever need for this life and the life to come: ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live’ (John 11:25).” —The Knowing Jesus Study Bible
“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.” —Timothy Keller
“In ancient times before the divine sojourn of the Savior took place, even to the saints death was terrible; all wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Savior has raised his body, death is no longer terrible; for all who believe in Christ trample on it as it were nothing and choose rather to die than deny their faith in Christ. And that devil that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead.” ―Athanasius, On the Incarnation
“Ghosts, apparitions, and various psychological hallucinations may do a lot of things, but they don’t fire up the charcoal grill and cook fish for breakfast.” ―Pheme Perkins
“The resurrection of Jesus is much more than a conclusive argument for life after death, but it is also that. If Jesus rose from the dead, then there is no room for doubt that death is not the end of our journey. If Jesus truly rose, then there is for every person a heaven to embrace and a hell to shun.” —Bruce Milne
“The least plausible of all explanations of the resurrection was that it was generated out of the despairing imagination of the disciples. For that does not explain why they were willing to risk their lives for it. Nor does it account for one of the most characteristic literary features of the Easter narratives: the report that the beholders were utterly surprised by the appearance of the risen Lord. The ‘surprise’ element of the Easter narratives is too recurrent to be considered an anomaly. It is not likely that one would report being surprised by something that one had previously projected. No. Something occurred in Jesus’ resurrection. It is quite unconvincing to assume that it could have been nothing. Whatever it was, it was experienced as the resurrected or spiritual or glorified body of Jesus and understood as the final self-disclosure of God.” —Thomas C. Oden
“Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.” ―John Stott
“Christ has turned all our sunsets into dawns.” —Clement of Alexandria