In a Wall Street Journal article, George Weigel gives a combination history lesson and apologetic for the Resurrection:
There is no accounting for the rise of Christianity without weighing the revolutionary effect on those nobodies of what they called “the Resurrection.” They encountered one whom they embraced as the Risen Lord, whom they first knew as the itinerant Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth, and who died an agonizing and shameful death on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem. As N.T. Wright … makes clear, that first generation answered the question of why they were Christians with a straightforward answer: because Jesus was raised from the dead …. As they worked that out, their thinking about a lot of things changed profoundly.
The article mentions some of the positive secular outcomes brought to the ancient world through Christianity:
- A new dignity given to women in contrast to the classical culture.
- A self-denying healthcare provided to plague sufferers.
- A focus on family health and growth.
- A remarkable change in worship from the Sabbath to Sunday
- A willingness to embrace death as martyrs—because they knew that death did not have the final word in the human story.
- Living as if they knew the outcome of history itself.
Weigel suggests that it's only through, what he calls the Easter Effect, that these changes make sense. The social changes that followed Good Friday occur only if they actually believed in the resurrection of Jesus. You can find the entire article available without subscription here.
Good Friday and Easter continues to challenge and change our world. With double services on both Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday we proclaim Christ’s death till He comes. The resurrection of Christ and subsequent mission given to His followers is passed on through songs of worship, stories of lives changed and our ongoing witness. This weekend we celebrate the unity of the church as we gather on Friday (over 20 churches in Langley). We celebrate lives surrender to Christ’s Lordship through water baptism on Sunday. We are refreshed by the truths of resurrection. Jesus said in the narrative of Lazarus, “I amthe resurrection and the life.The one who believesin me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believingin me will never die.” May these words give each person hope and perspective even in challenging circumstances. Because of Christ we have strength for today and enter into our own promise for resurrection and eternal life. He is risen, risen indeed. Therefore we have hope and bring hope to our world.