“Roll the stone aside,” He told them...
A little over nine weeks ago, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson reached the summit of the 3,000-foot rock mountain known as “El Capitan” in Yosemite National Park. It marked the first free ascent up a notoriously difficult section called the “Dawn Wall.” It was an eighteen-day free-climb, 3,000 feet up solid granite; a feat almost everyone thought impossible. Free climbing means using only one's hands and feet to scale a rock's vertical surface, employing only ropes and other gear to stop a fall. Many describe their accomplishment – which took seven years of planning and preparation – as the greatest rock climb in the history of the world.
I disagree. The greatest rock climb in the history of the world occurred 2,000 years ago, after centuries of planning. It happened on the outskirts of Jerusalem, when a man named Jesus climbed out of a rock tomb early on a Sunday morning, three days after a brutal crucifixion at the hands of the Roman military.
Unlike Lazarus’ emergence from his tomb a week before, no one was present to help unwrap Jesus’ graveclothes or roll away the stone; so God did it. Angels assisted, and, as the great old church hymn asserts,
Up from the grave he arose;
With a mighty triumph o'er his foes;
He arose a victor from the dark domain,
And he lives forever, with his saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
(Up From the Grave He Arose, Robert Lowry)
Friends, he’s the death-conquering Christ, the Son of the living God! No founder of any other world religion ever claimed to rise from the dead – only Jesus. No other person has ever made such a historic “climb” from the grave. Truly, it was the singular event that transformed human history.