Walter Wink, professor at Auburn Theological Seminary, once said, "Killing Jesus was like trying to destroy a dandelion seed-head by blowing on it." Obviously, Dr. Wink was saying that Jesus' death played right into the hands of God's plan, spreading the Gospel message far and wide. Jesus' resurrection did more to spur the teachings of God than any single event before or since. Why? Because the power that Christ displayed over death that fateful day changed the lives of His followers in radical ways. Guys who had denied Him just a few days before were encouraged to stand boldly in the streets of Jerusalem and proclaim that He was the Son of God. Men who had fled from the fear of being arrested would later face death by stoning, the sword or crucifixion because they understood the "power that raised Christ from the dead."
It was my belief in that same power that gave me strength in the days after the wreck. When I was asked by my church's leadership who would preach on Easter Sunday (two days after the wreck) I told them I would. I honestly wasn't sure if I could do it. Nor was I completely sure that I wanted to. Something inside just told me that, if I couldn't stand and preach on the resurrection after what my family had been through, no one else could.
Without the resurrection, Christ-followers are the most pitiful of all subjects. We waste our lives in worship of an impotent God if Jesus wasn't raised from the dead. While doubt and fear would enter my mind over the next several months, I would come back time-and-time again to this one, life-changing truth: the tomb is empty. Always has been!
Just as in the first century, Jesus' death was still empowering believers to lead others to the truth. I was afraid. No doubt. I was mourning the loss of my best friend that Easter Sunday morning (Josh would die three days later). But the promise that Sarah was in Heaven, the hope that I would some day see her again, compelled me to preach...continues to this day to compel me again and again.
"For His returning we watch and we pray
We will be ready the dawn of that day
We'll join in singing with all the redeemed
Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King."
I get asked a lot about how I was able to carry on in the aftermath of April 9, 2004. Here is the answer that Paul gave...that I give:
18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms... Ephesians 1:18-20 NLT