January 14, 1997
When Nikita Kruschev died, the story went around that the Communist party did not want to bury him in their country. They called U.S. President Richard Nixon and asked if their former leader could be buried in America. Nixon declined. Then they called Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel. Mrs. Meir agreed but added, “I must warn you—this country has the world’s highest resurrection rate.”
I am not too sure where Kruschev was finally laid to rest but if he had a choice, he may have wanted it to be in Israel. That country has some interesting “return to life” statistics. For instance, an Old Testament Israeli prophet named Elijah stayed with a widow and her son during a famine. God miraculously provided food for all three but when the famine was over, the son died. The widow called Elijah and Elijah called God. Some interpret what the prophet did after he prayed as a form of resuscitation, but whatever he did, the dead child was restored to life.
Later, Elijah’s understudy, Elisha stayed with an elderly man and his wife who had no children. However, Elisha predicted a son and the woman became pregnant and had a boy. A few years later, the child was struck with a severe headache and died. Elisha prayed, did something similar as Elijah had done with the widow’s son, and this boy was also restored to life.
Some time later, Elisha died and was buried. Near his grave, some men dug a grave for another man who had died. A party of raiders came. The men quickly threw the body of their friend into Elisha’s tomb. When he touched the prophet’s bones, the man came back to life.
Jesus is even more renown for raising the dead. A man named Jairus lost his young daughter and Jesus raised her to life. When a funeral procession passed, Jesus took pity on the widow who had just lost her son so raised him to life. Three days after His friend Lazarus had been placed in a tomb, Jesus brought him to life. Later on, the Apostle Peter prayed in Jesus name for a woman named Dorcas and she also rose from the dead.
The most startling resurrection is that of Jesus Christ. No one gave Him mouth-to-mouth or tossed Him on the bones of a prophet. No one grabbed His hand or called “Come forth!” He died, was buried in a sealed tomb and three days later, rose from the dead. How did He do it?
The Bible says He was “crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power.” As a man, He died for all men but death could not hold Him because He is also God and because He is sinless. He did not deserve the death penalty nor did death have power over Him.
Furthermore, all others who were raised to life experienced death later on, but Jesus did not. The Bible says He is our Great High Priest based on the power of His “indestructible life.” The life that is in Christ is eternal. He died only because He willingly went to death for our sake, but death nor the grave could contain Him. His life is more powerful.
Kruschev died and was buried. So did Mohammed. So did all other founders of all other political and religious systems. As much as they might have wanted to live again, their bodies are still in their tombs. Only One man claimed to possess everlasting, indestructible life. Romans 6 says: “For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.” The tomb of Jesus is empty.
Jesus is alive. Furthermore, He is generous with His life. The Bible says, “You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him” and “He who believes in the Son has eternal life...”
Eternal life does not have anything to do with being buried in Israel. It is about believing in Jesus, the One who conquered the grave and freely shares His power with all who trust Him.