Mark 16

16 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.

6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

9 Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.

12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.

14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[b] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Christ Ascends to God’s Right Hand

19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
_By Matt Barber  

As the political season heats up it occurs to me that, as important as elections are, unless the hearts of men are changed, the heart of a nation cannot awaken. Our nation is experiencing heart failure. It needs an awakening – a spiritual awakening. Desperately.

Every year secular-“progressives” and obnoxious atheist pressure groups exponentially ramp up demands that all traces of Christianity be purged from the public sphere; particularly at Christmas time. This is like demanding the abolition of penicillin during an outbreak of Typhoid Fever.

I’ve never quite understood this. Scripture admonishes: “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God.’” Secularists need to relax. They already have their own holiday: April First.

Albert Einstein, who is often falsely characterized as having been an atheist, once said of non-believers: “The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’ – cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

Indeed, Psalm 19:1 observes: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

Einstein addressed the inherent hubris associated with God-denial:

I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.

Although there is no evidence that, in life, Albert Einstein accepted the lordship of Jesus Christ, when asked if he believed in Jesus the historical figure, he responded: “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

Undeniably, Jesus’ existence, teachings – even many of the miracles He performed while on earth – are corroborated through a multitude of non-Christian historical sources.

Still, the mere belief in a creator God, or an admission that Jesus walked the earth, is altogether insufficient to recompense the debt owed for the fruits of wickedness, sown and harvested throughout our lives. As James 2:19 declares: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.”

So there is a question of principal importance to every human, and it is this: Is Jesus who He claimed to be: God, Creator of the heavens and earth; the singular path to salvation? Or was He something else? As with any yes-or-no question, there is a yes-or-no answer. There must be.

As author and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis observed, Christ could have been only one of three things: A lunatic, a liar, or – as He often claimed and as billions have believed – the sovereign Lord and Creator of the universe.

 Lewis wrote in “Mere Christianity”:

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

I write this with complete confidence: Albert Einstein presently acknowledges the deity of Jesus Christ. Every atheist, Muslim and Buddhist; every Wiccan, Hindu and Jew; every man, woman and child will bow before His nail-pierced feet. Whether we do it in this life or the next may determine where and how we spend eternity.

Philippians 2:10-11 assures us, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

John 3:36 warns: “Whoever believes in the Son [Jesus] has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

Christ was both tolerant and intolerant – utterly exclusive and wholly inclusive. He said in no uncertain terms: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6)

Note that, rather conspicuously, Jesus did not say: “No one comes to the Father except through me, the Buddha, Muhammad, Ganesh or L. Ron Hubbard.”

Utterly exclusive.

Yet He also promised us this: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-29)

Romans 10:13 is even more direct: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Wholly inclusive.

The Bible is one of two things: it’s either simply an ancient text chock-full of creative tales and loose philosophies no more relevant to our daily lives than a Tony Robbins self-help book, or it is what it says it is: the inerrant, inspired Word of God. It can be nothing else.

If it is the former, then today’s secular fundamentalists have it right. The Bible should be taken with a grain of salt, enjoyed simply for its literary and historical value, or ignored altogether. However, if it is the latter – if the Bible really is the inerrant, inspired Word of God as it purports to be – then we ignore or reject it at our own peril.

Any philosophy that embraces relativism is a philosophy in conflict with objective, universal truth. A society that demands all things “inclusive” and enshrines unqualified “tolerance” for all cultures, behaviors or faith traditions has run afoul of reality. Pluralism and truth are incompatible.

Now, I’m very sorry that most liberals, universalists and non-believers feel that Christianity is deficiently “tolerant” or “inclusive” of various manmade religions, attitudes of materialism or lifestyle choices. But it’s not our call. Truth remains that, regardless of whether we choose to acknowledge it.

Christ Himself reveals over and again that the pathway to heaven is a very narrow one, requiring membership in an exclusive corporate body – membership of which belief in Him and repentance from sin are the only requirements. But they are requirements.

We are on notice. We have no excuse. The end of our temporal lives marks the beginning of our eternal ones. We each have a choice. We either choose to spend eternity bathed in the magnificent glory that is the light of Jesus Christ; or we choose complete separation from Him. We choose indescribable hopelessness; darkness without end; eternal torment of a kind our finite minds cannot fathom.

John 3:16 reveals the greatest gift ever offered unto man: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

If you have yet done so, I pray in the New Year that you will resolve to accept the gift of eternal life. With it, you are reborn.

With it, a great nation is reborn.

Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action . (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)

Submitted by the author.