In 1974, Charles “Chuck” Colson, former special counsel to President Richard Nixon, was jailed for his involvement in the Watergate scandal.
Colson, named as one of the “Watergate Seven,” pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for attempting to discredit Pentagon analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who had leaked the top-secret Pentagon Papers to the New York Times in an effort to expose the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
A year before his imprisonment, while he was still under investigation and facing arrest, Colson’s close friend, Thomas L. Phillips, gave him a copy of Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Colson devoured the book, and soon after, became a Christian.
Colson, who was derided by the media at the time for converting to Christianity just prior to his trial, went on to serve seven months of his one-to-three-years sentence. But his new-found faith was no trivial ploy to reduce his punishment.
Upon his release, Colson went on to create Prison Fellowship Ministries, an organisation dedicated to ministering to inmates, former prisoners, and their families. He also established the Christian teaching and resource organisation, The Colson Center.
In 1982, on Easter Sunday, Colson delivered a sermon to a group of prison inmates. One of the prisoners later recalled the atmosphere as Colson preached. The prisoners were “spellbound,” he said.
As soon as he had finished speaking, “everyone in the place stood up and cheered,” and many of the inmates came forward for prayer.
In his message, Colson spoke a little about his own experience meeting Christ, and admitted that his involvement in the Watergate scandal played a crucial part in convincing him of the truth of the resurrection.
I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How?
Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it.
Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison.
They would not have endured that if it weren’t true.
Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks.
You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years?
He has risen, indeed!