In the spring of 2002 while on the back side of a very painful divorce, I began to question the existence of God.
To say that I was angry at God for “allowing” this tragedy to happen to me is an understatement. My wounds were still much too fresh to allow me to realize that in most divorces, including my own, both parties are to blame.
During this time of desperation, I happened across Lee Strobel’s “A Case for Christ”, in which he documented his journey from atheism to accepting Christ. Strobel, a former Yale Law School graduate and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune, is no dummy. However, his arguments, although very convincing, didn’t leave me with a sense of peace that comes from “knowing” what you believe or want to believe is actual truth. Let’s just say I was 99% convinced that Christ was the Son of God and he did rise from the dead, but that remaining 1% nagged at me constantly.
It wasn’t until I attended a Christian “Apologetics” conference in Naples, FL that I was able to resolve the remaining doubt. Lee Strobel and Chuck Colson were to be the keynote speakers for the evening. Having read his book, I was very familiar with Strobel and his view of the risen Christ. However, I knew very little about Chuck Colson. Before attending, I researched Mr. Colson and found that he was the former special counsel for President Nixon and a key player in the Watergate scandal. He was also the first man to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges and had converted to Christianity before going to prison after reading “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis.
A few minutes after arriving at the conference I learned that Lee Strobel had been in an automobile accident on the way to the airport and, as a result, was medically unable to make the trip. I was crushed as Strobel was the primary reason for my attending and I had hoped to have my remaining doubts concerning Christ and the resurrection extinguished. While sitting there waiting for the conference to commence, I boiled with anger and considered leaving. Thank God I persevered as hearing Chuck Colson speak on the resurrection gave me the last piece to the puzzle, enabling me to continue my Christian walk confident that what I believed about Christ’s resurrection was indeed true. If you are walking the fence on the resurrection issue, I can empathize. The following words from Colson are his rationale for believing Christ did exactly what he, in Scripture, said he would do…. die, and on the third day, rise again. Maybe, as with me, this will remove all remaining doubt.
Chuck Colson: “I have been challenged myself many times on the resurrection. My answer is always that the disciples and five hundred others gave eyewitness accounts of seeing Jesus, risen from the tomb. But then I’m asked, “How do you know they were telling the truth? Maybe they were perpetrating a hoax.”
My answer to that comes from an unlikely source: Watergate.
Watergate involved a conspiracy to cover up, perpetuated by the closest aides to the President of the United States—the most powerful men in America, who were intensely loyal to their president. But one of them, John Dean, turned state’s evidence, that is, testified against Nixon, as he put it, “to save his own skin”—and he did so only two weeks after informing the president about what was really going on—two weeks! The real cover-up, the lie, could only be held together for two weeks, and then everybody else jumped ship in order to save themselves. Now, the fact is that all that those around the President were facing was embarrassment, maybe prison. Nobody’s life was at stake.
But what about the disciples? Twelve powerless men, peasants really, were facing not just embarrassment or political disgrace, but beatings, stoning, execution. Every single one of the disciples insisted, to their dying breaths, that they had physically seen Jesus bodily raised from the dead.
Don’t you think that one of those apostles would have cracked before being beheaded or stoned? That one of them would have made a deal with the authorities? None did.
You see, men will give their lives for something they believe to be true—they will never give their lives for something they know to be false.
The Watergate cover-up reveals the true nature of humanity. Even political zealots at the pinnacle of power will, in the crunch, save their own necks, even at the expense of the ones they profess to serve so loyally. But the apostles could not deny Jesus because they had seen Him face to face, and they knew He had risen from the dead.
No, you can take it from an expert in cover-ups—I’ve lived through Watergate—that nothing less than a resurrected Christ could have caused those men to maintain to their dying whispers that Jesus is alive and is Lord. Two thousand years later, nothing less than the power of the risen Christ could inspire Christians around the world to remain faithful—despite prison, torture, and death.
Jesus is Lord: That’s the thrilling message of Easter. And it’s an historic fact, one convincingly established by the evidence—and one you can bet your life upon. Go ahead researchers—dig up all the old graves you want. You won’t change a thing. He has risen” (http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/ccolson.htm).