Sometime slightly less than 2,000 years ago on a Friday, a carpenter’s son stood silent before the fifth Roman governor of the Roman province of Judea, Pontius Pilate. The local leaders in Jerusalem had plotted to kill the man, named Jesus. The plot sped with unchecked momentum when gossip began spreading Jesus had raised another man named Lazarus from the dead.

Knowing he was innocent of any crimes, Pilate tried to let the man go. But the crowd would not be placated, and Pilate decided to let the crowd choose between freeing Jesus or an insurrectionary named Barabbas. The crowd chose Barabbas. The Roman historian Tacitus later recorded that “Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilate, and the pernicious superstition (of his divinity) was checked for a moment.”

The Romans nailed Jesus of Nazareth to a cross. The Protestant reformer Martin Luther said that there, on that cross, the greatest sinner that ever would live breathed his last and died. The sky went dark. The ground quaked. The curtain in the Jewish temple tore in half, with most believing it was the act of a vandal. The first person of the Trinity turned His back on the second person of the Trinity and even the sun refused to shine on Christ as the sins of mankind, past, present and future, were placed on Him to satisfy God’s wrath.

Had Jesus of Nazareth just died, the world would have moved on. Plenty of other men claimed to be God’s chosen messiah. We don’t remember any of them. We remember this one who laid down his life for others. Something unique happened to Jesus. But what?
More than two billion people on the planet believe this Jesus was the Christ. On the Sunday following his execution, we believe He rose again from the dead. Our faith in Christ is in vain if Christ did not rise. Some claim that they can believe in Christ and a metaphysical resurrection or that they can take him as a great philosopher. But the Apostle Paul notes all of Christianity is dependent on the belief in a physical, bodily resurrection, not a metaphor. Jesus himself said He was the I Am, the God of all creation.

Unfathomably, in times of serious persecution, faith in Christ has spread around the world. While seemingly in decline in the West, Christianity even outpaces Islam as the world’s fastest-growing religion. More and more Muslims are having unexplained dreams of Christ and converting. Underground in China, most experts believe there are now more Christians than there are total Americans. The Chinese leaders’ fear of this has led to persecution of Christians, thereby causing growth in Chinese Christianity. The passive indifference of Western secularists had left Christians to their own devices to divide and collapse. Now, the growing engaged hostility in the West to Christianity is sending it into revival. Like a plant, it blooms ever more through the pruning of persecution.

When Christ died, his own half-brothers (first cousins to some) would not come to his execution. On the cross, “(w)hen Jesus saw his mother and (the Apostle John) standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” (John 19:26-27).

Despite ruthless persecution after the resurrection, Jesus’ brothers became leaders in the church. James, Jesus’ brother (not to be confused with the apostle), became the leader of the church in Jerusalem and is the author of a book of the Bible. Jesus’ other brother Jude also wrote a book of the Bible and stated something profound. He said it was Jesus, his brother whose divinity he rejected in Jesus’ life, who rescued His people out of Egypt. James and Jude and all of Christ’s earthly family would be exterminated by the Romans for doubling down on their belief that Jesus is God Himself.

My sisters love me. They would never be willing to die insisting I was God. Jesus’ siblings and their children all died professing him to be Lord — perhaps because He is. Happy Easter.

To find out more about Erick Erickson and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at


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  1. Who did your proofs? What does this mean?

    “The Protestant reformer Martin Luther said that there, on that cross, the greatest sinner that ever would live breathed his last and died. ”

    This is a misprint. Please retract as soon as possible, else someone might believe a lie.

    1. He took the sins of the whole world upon Himself. In that sense He was sinful and went to hell and preached to the lost of Noah’s day.

  2. Simply put:


    Jesus Christ is the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS!
    The only begotten of the Father.

  3. LISTEN UP….The GIFT of SALVATION and the HOLY BIBLE are 2 PRICELESS GIFTS from GOD. NOONE Outgives GOD. Have a HAPPY and BLESSED EASTER. From SamuraiQueen.😄😄😄😇😇😇

  4. A lot of this leads to misinterpretation of JESUS’ family and who are by name cousins, not brothers. Mary was “Virgin Mother” and had no other children, just as John The Baptist was Jesus’ Cousin. Chronologically, Joseph was 91 years old when he took Mary as his wife.

    Also, when Jesus descended to the dead (one interesting fact is never fully shared ) he sought Adam and Eve; forgave them their sin, and brought them and other souls to Eternal Life in Heaven.

  5. Making a joke of God isn’t very smart. If you ever bothered reading the Bible you would know that its prophecies are amazingly correct. My grandmother started reading the Bible to me when I was 13 months old. I am now 82 and still finding new things in the Bible. One shocker is the seven prophecies about Israel. Five are already here, four in the last one hundred years. The last two? Nations will rise against Israel. God will destroy ALL nations that rise against Israel. Can you prove it isn’t heading that way.

  6. Thank You! The greatest part of the history of the world. May Christianity grow in the West and save all who believe.

  7. I disagree with Martin Luther. Jesus Christ was sinless and died for all sinners then and those now. He was sinless. Martin Luther was absolutely wrong

  8. Jesus had no siblings or nieces or nephews. Mary and Joseph were chaste; there was no other wife. Mary birthed one child. And why quote Martin Luther as a protestant? He started out as a Catholic priest. There were no Protestants. Jesus founded the CATHOLIC Church.

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