george hancock stefanIn the Christian faith, one of the strongest statements of faith is made by the angel who tells the women, “Why do you see the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen!” The four gospels and the epistles written by John, Peter, James and Paul attest to that pivotally foundational statement. Paul writes that if Christ has not been raised from the dead, then we are to be pitied more than any other group of people because we believed that He was resurrected. “But now Christ has been raised from the dead” and that changes everything in human history (1 Cor. 15).

We know that apostle Peter has been crucified in Rome. We know that Paul was beheaded in Rome. We know that James was beheaded in Jerusalem. We know that Thomas traveled to India and Andrew to Armenia where both of them suffered martyrs’ deaths. They were able to die with great courage because they looked forward to their resurrection, which would be similar to the one who rose from the dead, no longer to die—Jesus Christ.

The Christian faith is distinctive in the fact that, from all the founders of religion, only Jesus Christ said, “I have the power to give my life and I have the power to take it back.” We know where Mohammed, the founder of Islam, is buried. We know where Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is buried. We know where the founder of Confucianism is buried.

In comparative religion, we always talk about the impact that the founder had on his followers. Some even argue that certain followers of Confucius and Buddha have higher moral standards than Christians. It may be that in some ways they are more giving, calmer, or more cohesive. However, the followers of Jesus Christ are promised eternal life.

We are the followers of the One who has defeated sin, death, and the Evil One. He has restored his followers to the life that existed before sin entered into this world. If you had to choose between a life that will end on this earth (no matter how long it is) and one that will be eternal, which one will you choose?  For me and my house, I am glad I have chosen to follow the Risen Christ!