...the infamous Watergate cover-up in which I was very much involved. Surprising though it may seem to some, it took only two weeks from the time that the president was first told the extent of the cover-up to the time when John Dean, his counsel, went to the prosecutors and made a secret deal to testify against the president in exchange for a lighter sentence. Now, mind you, this happened among twelve people, perhaps the most powerful in America, loyal to their leader. In a situation like that, as I saw up close, the desire to save oneself has a way of overriding loyalty or any idealism.And from what were they saving themselves? Not torture nor death, but loss of reputation, scandal, possible prison time. If "elite" men like this could buckle so quickly under relatively mild pressure, how much more quickly would simple rustics collaps under greater and more certain threat?
This is Colson's point, and he makes it well:
Read his essay in full. It is a potent underscoring of the credibility of the witnesses to the Resurrection, from an angle I've never heard better explained.Just think about the situation Christ’s disciples were in after He left them. Here was a group of peasants, powerless, up against the most powerful empire in the world. Possible prison time was the very least of their worries. They knew that torture and execution could be in their future if they refused to stop preaching the name of Jesus Christ.
But they couldn’t stop.
To a man, they kept talking about Christ’s life, death, and resurrection to anyone who would listen. None of them would deny or retract their story. Eventually, just as the authorities had threatened, most of them were executed for it. But still, all of them maintained to the very end that Jesus had risen from the dead—that they had seen Him, touched Him, talked with Him.