Our church like so many makes a big day of celebration out of Easter. Someday I would just love to interrupt everyone’s Easter breakfast with, “Okay table topic for today is the resurrection. What does it mean to you?”
It means so much to me because He lives in my heart. I know George Barna noted a few years ago that Christians fall into two distinct categories, Casual Christians and Captive Christians, depending on whether they do not of do have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. For those who keep Him at arm’s length, I say you don’t know what you are missing. It will literally transform your life.
Charles Colson wrote a book about how “The thing that proves the resurrection is Watergate.” That is, once the 12 advisors to Nixon realized that they might face perjury and jail time for lying about Watergate in the President’s behalf, they quickly ratted and everybody tried to save his own skin. So if the Resurrection was about a lie, the disciples could hold it secret no more than about two weeks, Colson estimated. To die on a cross themselves almost to a man is unheard of loyalty for what must have been the truth.
A friend of mine, a police investigator who closely reads documents for clues, said he believes the resurrection because there were 4 separate documents penned whose accounts all agree—and yet each shares a different perspective. This is exactly what you expect with 4 different witnesses. Each story is told my a unique author with different details but the major facts of the case are spot on correct among them.
A writer told me the resurrection and the passion means so much to him because of the honesty of the writers who tell about their own shortfalls with abandon, but whose passion is for the truth of the tale. Before modern times, he says, writers never shared their internal thoughts nor put themselves in a bad light. It was just against the rules of competition for a debate. It was the rule of ancient rhetoric for the speaker to present himself as one of unassailable character.
Paul makes note that at one time Jesus appeared to 500 people and then names a bunch of folks as if to say, “You could take a bottle of wine over to his house and ask Leroy, what did you see, dude?” Have you ever seen 500 people have a hallucination at the same time? The same hallucination?
Historians note that Christians from virtually day one organized around the principle that Jesus rose from the dead. Jews and Romans who are frustrated with the new sect because they contended this, write about it. So it is validated by historical criticism.
John in his gospel writes how he ran into the tomb and saw the burial cloths—strips of wrags that were wrapped round and round the body and then he saw the headpiece still wrapped in it’s same folds lying aside. No human hands could have unwrapped it like that. It had to be divine. And having the burial cloths means that the body was gone. No one could transport a 3-days-rotten body without being wrapped. In such a society, if the Romans had any clue as to who stole the body, they could do a search in that crowded town and have found it by smell alone.
Well, okay, so much for all the arguments. It’s proof that He truly lives. To me the resurrection and his living presence is what propels my life. The forgiveness of my messed up life. How He was just waiting for my struggles and strategies to end. How I can take the most hopeless situation to Him and some how, some way I will either find myself accepting it or the wait changes it or he puts a thought in my head of how to work the problem. The love that has changed me, the redemption that transforms me, the plan that He holds that I trust will bring about the triumph of the world and the world to come—that’s what the resurrection is for.
“He lives to silence all my fears.
He lives to wipe away my tears.
He lives to calm my troubled heart
He lives all blessings to impart.”
“Because you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you…everyone who is called by My Name, whom I created for My Glory,” reads Isaiah 43 written 700 years before Christ. It insinuates that God’s greatest glory is not the universe or the stars or even the creation of life itself. It is in saving us. Doubt it? “Who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.” Phil. 2:5. So that someday in heaven someone will ask what His greatest glory was and He will smile and point to You. You were His greatest accomplishment.