In recent years lists of the people “Most likely to…’ have become very popular. It’s now an established feature for high school students approaching the end of their courses to vote for one another across a range of categories. These can include most likely to …become Prime Minister, …write a best-selling novel, …get a “Yes” from Simon Cowell, but can also include most likely to …get lost at Disneyland, or become a crazy cat lady.
By contrast it has been observed that were a vote to be taken of the least likely to leave an impression on the world, Jesus would have won hands down on the day after his death. The Roman authorities had stamped on his fledgling movement crucifying him, and leaving his handful of followers distraught and disillusioned and awaiting their own arrest and execution. He left not a single material possession, and no written work, much less an organisation, an army or a political movement.
But somehow 2,000 years on some 2 billion people claim to follow him. How do we explain such a rise to prominence after such an inauspicious start? For Christians, the answer is to be found in one word: resurrection.