The most wonderful thing about Christ is not only the way He died, but that He did not remain in death. He was in the grave for less than seventy-two hours. On the third day Christ rose from the grave (Matt. 28:1-6). This is a historical fact which no historian can overturn. He resurrected with a body and appeared to His disciples many times for forty days (1 Cor. 15:4-7; Acts 1:3). Many modern critics have dismissed the resurrection as a myth or a story that the early disciples fabricated. But the fact that so many witnesses saw Christ after His resurrection, and the fact that their encounter with the resurrected Christ brought about profound changes in their lives, are strong proof that the resurrection is not a fabrication. Before Christ’s resurrection the disciples were fearful and disheartened; Peter even denied the Lord three times (Luke 22:54-62). After His resurrection the same group of people became bold and aggressive. Peter was the first one to stand up at Pentecost to preach to more than three thousand people (Acts 2:14). No fabrication can produce such a life-transforming change; nor could the disciples have been in any kind of religious hallucination, because all of them spoke soberly and behaved responsibly. The early church was not a community of self-deceived lunatics but a body of proper, upright, and sober-minded believers. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest historical fact in the history of mankind. It changes the course of human history and opens the way for man to have a new life in Christ.
Almost two thousand years have passed since the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected. During the past two thousand years the history of mankind has proved that nothing can destroy or remove this Christ from His place in the world. Kings and empires have come and passed away. The Roman Empire that was once the pride of ancient civilization has crumbled to pieces, but the little Jesus of Nazareth whom it persecuted has triumphed and remained. Forty days after His resurrection Christ ascended to the right hand of God (Acts 1:9; 2:33-36). Today He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). He is God, and He rules over the whole world. Great monarchs and imperial dynasties have built monuments and edifices to their memory, only to see them falling to pieces through the eyes of their posterity. But the name of Christ has remained, and His cross has shined through the ages with ever-increasing glory. Kings and conquerors have instituted calendars to commemorate their reigns, but the only calendar that has remained is the calendar of Christ. Today, in the East and in the West, from the most industrialized nation to the most backward country, everyone uses the universal calendar, the calendar of Christ. Without realizing it, the whole world is acknowledging that Christ is the only Monarch and the supreme Ruler.
Today, all world events are in Christ’s hands. He is the real Administrator of the universe (Rev. 1:5). He has not allowed evil to perpetuate, and He has not left mankind to his own destiny. Behind the great wheel of human history is Christ’s own omnipotent hand.
When the Jews killed Jesus, they thought that the disciples who surrounded Him would be dispersed in a short time. Little did they expect that in less than two months the situation would be completely turned and thousands would be converted to Christ. The Roman Empire despised the little communities of Christians and thought that its mighty imperial power could squash such a feeble movement in no time. Little did it realize that in less than four centuries the followers of Jesus the Nazarene would spread over its entire domain like wildfire, even to the point of swallowing up the Empire itself. The communists seventy-five years ago proclaimed that Christianity would die within that generation. Little did they expect that Christians all over the world would multiply by the thousands and millions, even right within their own atheistic countries. Today in Russia, in China, and in America, millions of Christians are testifying to the faith that they have found in Jesus Christ. Every day thousands of people are turning to Christ and are committing their lives to Christ. The Christian faith is not dead. On the contrary, it is more alive than at any other time in history. All this once again proves that Jesus Christ is God and that He lives forever.
A Christian is not a person who believes in a dead religion. He is a person who believes in a living Savior. Jesus Christ died two thousand years ago, but today He is alive and lives forever (Rev. 1:18). When a person calls on His name and believes in Him (Rom. 10:9), Christ as the living Spirit enters into such a one and changes his life. Mohammed died, and his tomb is still in Mecca. Alexander the Great died and is still lying in his tomb. All the great world leaders died and are lying in their tombs or mausoleums. But Jesus Christ lives; His tomb is empty, and He is living within millions of His believers. If you call on Alexander the Great, you will receive no response, because he is dead. But if you call on Jesus, He will come into you and will change your life. He will turn your emptiness into reality, your darkness into light, your weakness into strength, your fear into courage, and your sorrow into joy. All who call on the name of the Lord Jesus will surely be saved (Rom. 10:13).
One day Christ will appear again on this earth and will set up His heavenly kingdom on earth (Rev. 11:15). The Bible says that heaven is waiting for that day to come (Acts 3:21). But today you can experience Him by believing in Him. If you open your heart to Him, He will come into you to set up His kingdom within you. You will be brought out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light (Col. 1:13). Christ will be your new life within (Col. 3:4), and you will be a new person in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).
This article is taken from a series of gospel messages given in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia in 1992. They have been instrumental in bringing over 7,000 people to the knowledge of God, the Bible, and the Christian salvation. The entire series comprises six articles with the following topics: 1) The Bible, 2) There Is God, 3) Christ Is God, 4) Christ Is Spirit and Life, 5) Christ’s Redemption and Salvation, and 6) The Meaning of Human Life.
(Christ is God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)