There have been many leaders of religions and cults since nearly the beginning of human history. All made claims about God, or the sun, moon and stars and all sought to control the minds and lives of those who followed them. All of those leaders died. Only one Person who walked this Earth rose from the grave and was seen by scores of witnesses.

He was certainly seen by those who had closely followed Him -- His disciples -- none of whom fully understood what He had told them about having to die in order that they might live.

Those doubters became on-fire believers when they finally saw Him in his resurrected body and at least one -- Thomas -- put his fingers in the nail prints in His hand and thrust his hand into His pierced side. Since the Roman government and religious authorities of the time persecuted anyone who admitted to being a follower of "The Way," it was in the self-interest of the disciples not to speak of what they had seen and heard. But all of them loudly proclaimed it, though it meant death for all of them and exile for one, John, who wrote the book of Revelation on the island of Patmos. Not one of them denied what they had witnessed. Human nature suggests that in order to save his own skin, one would have cracked under the pressure if they were spreading a lie. Charles Colson tells the story of the Watergate conspirators and how they couldn't hold together a lie for more than ten days before the first of them beat a path to the Special Prosecutor's office and began copping pleas and ratting on others.

God saw the deplorable condition of humanity and took pity on us. Though we were (and are) sinners, He sent His Only Son, Jesus the Christ, to die for us and to suffer the penalty that should be ours for offending a holy and righteous God. He proved He was (and is) who He said He was (and is) by rising from the grave. He offers this promise that if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

It is the greatest bargain ever made by the greatest Person who ever lived. This is the real message of Easter, or as a billboard near my home once proclaimed: "Easter: The Real Super Sunday." Rejoice, because that isn't the end of the story. He's coming again soon and world events indicate it will be sooner than many think.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.