I was only a high school student, but it was the turning point in my life. I was a Christian, raised in a Christian family, wanting to live a God-honoring life. But I found myself going upstream in a downstream high school world, and like many others, I found myself counting the cost. Wouldn’t it just be easier to turn around and swim with the great majority, and park my faith in a private corner of my life?
All of this came to a head one lunch hour, as I walked home. I had been in the practice of carrying my Bible to school. For some reason, I carried it home that lunch hour, and knew that I faced a life-shaping choice. I was either going to throw that Bible in the garbage, and turn my back on my parents’ faith; park it in a corner of a closet and choose religiosity; or return with it, determined to live whole-heartedly for the Lord Jesus Christ. There were no dramatic divine interventions that helped me decide. But there was one stubborn fact that I could not deny or ignore: Jesus had risen from the dead on Easter Sunday morning. I had spent a great deal of time looking at the historical evidence for the reliability of the gospel accounts and for the certainty that the tomb was empty on that remarkable Sunday morning. I also knew that every attempt to account for that empty tomb on any other basis than that Jesus had risen from the dead, as he had predicted, collapsed into nonsense. How could I turn my back on the risen Christ? To do so would be to turn my back on truth and life.
I carried my Bible back to school that afternoon, but now I was anchored to hope. In the years since, I have spent countless hours studying the biblical documents, as well as encountering the ingenious attempts of critics to punch holes in the evidence. I remain more convinced than ever that Jesus is who he claimed to be, God the Son, and that the greatest truth in history is his resurrection from the dead days after he had been declared dead by trained Roman executioners, and placed in a tomb guarded by a squad of soldiers. He was seen by eyewitnesses, whose lives were completely transformed by their encounter with him, and who nearly all were hounded to death by adversaries, but never recanted their testimony.
There are far more reasons that convince me to be a disciple of his, not least my experience of the risen Christ down through the years. But the anchor that holds me now, and has held me as I have faced the death of family and friends down through the years is found in the words that will ring from our lips on Easter Sunday morning “Christ is risen!” “He is risen indeed! Jesus Christ is Lord!” My prayer is that you will share that same anchor.