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GUEST COLUMN: A day that forever transformed the world

By: Scott S. Powell
April 1, 2018 Updated: April 1, 2018 at 4:05 am
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Easter is the one holiday that celebrates a single event that transformed the world forever. There are many religions with different founders and teachers going back thousands of years, but only one has a founder professing to be the messiah - the son of God - who could save humanity.

No other religious figure made the claim to deal with all the problems of the human heart as Jesus did. One primary reason the Bible is a perennial best-seller is that it is the most complete owner's manual to the most complex creation of all - the human species. Nowhere else can one find as succinct yet comprehensive an explanation of God's love than in the Bible's Psalms and Jesus' teaching through parables.

Jesus welcomed people whom no other religious leader would be caught dead with - society's rejects, reviled tax collectors, and prostitutes. By giving these outcasts mercy, Jesus showed a radical standard of love never seen before.

Once, when Jesus was with a Jewish Pharisee, a woman convicted by her sin came to Jesus to wash his feet with her tears and hair, and then apply expensive perfume. His host was aghast at the immoral woman's presence, but Jesus responded that God's work was to forgive sinners, and that those who were forgiven much could then love much.

Utterly unique in other ways, Jesus performed miracles, healing the sick, blind, crippled and deaf - the news of which traveled throughout the land, prompting many more to come. Jesus also confronted evil and drove demonic spirits out of people dangerously possessed and abandoned by society.

But his work did not stop with miraculous healing.

Because God became flesh in the person of Jesus to save people through their own faith, he went on to demonstrate his love and power in a way that couldn't be missed or denied: bringing the dead back to life.

One such miracle was that of Lazarus, who was dead and entombed for four days. Upon Jesus' command, Lazarus walked out of the tomb - that people would be certain of who Jesus was.

All other religions require works to achieve enlightenment and salvation. Faith is all that is required of the Christian, from which a transformed heart produces good works naturally. In saying "my yoke is easy and my burden is light," Jesus presents an invitation to which the most hardened cynic can't easily refuse.

Skeptics of the Bible's truth and the reality of Jesus need understand that there's more reliable historical evidence for his life, teachings, miracles, death and resurrection than there's evidence for any other historical figure of ancient times.

No one doubts the authenticity of Alexander the Great. Yet there are only two original biographical accounts of his life, written by Arrian and Plutarch about 400 years after Alexander died. The manuscripts of Virgil and Horace who lived within a generation of Christ were written more than four centuries after their deaths, yet no one doubts they lived and wrote great poetic masterpieces. Looking at the big picture, there are 1,000 times as many existing manuscripts of the New Testament (about 25,000) than of any classical authors' works, with the exception of Homer, whose Iliad is backed by 1,800 manuscripts.

We know the historical Jesus through the Gospels - Matthew, Luke, Mark and John - all written within a generation or two of Jesus' life.

Matthew and John provide eye-witness accounts from their years of walking with Jesus as disciples. Mark also had eyewitness experience, although just a teenager when Jesus' public ministry began. Luke, the doctor, learned about Jesus from Apostle Paul, who wrote most of the letters of the New Testament.

Easter is the commemoration of the single event that transformed the world forever - the resurrection of Jesus after his death on the cross.

That God would send his Son to die as a sacrifice for the sins of all who would believe in Him is an unbelievable gift. That a joyous eternal life awaits believers is beyond comprehension. But that's the promise and essence of Easter.

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Scott Powell is senior fellow at Discovery Institute in Seattle. Reach him at: scottp@discovery.org.

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