I believe that Easter is an important enough event that it bears mentioning in this blog. As I think of it, I think of how important the resurrection of Christ actually is. Many people believe that he didn't come back to life - that it was a hoax or a myth, but it isn't really important. They believe that what Jesus taught is the most important thing about the whole Jesus story. But it isn't.
You see, Jesus conquering death is the only reason we have to believe that we can too, if we follow Him. If He merely died and rotted away somewhere, where does that leave us? Sure we can love each other and feed the poor, but we have no real hope, do we, if the resurrection is a myth. It is a good thing that there is plenty of evidence to believe. Maybe this evidence will stir some faith in those who just aren't sure what to believe. With that, I give you an encore post from Easter of last year.
I think it has chilled some recently, but there was a movement in Christian circles to ban the traditional name for this holiday and call it Resurrection Sunday instead. I mock these types of movements usually, but I certainly understand why this particular one came about. To Christians, this holiday isn’t about a big bunny, eggs, and a ton of candy. No, it is about the hope and the delivery of all in the world to overcome death and escape the bounds that we are stuck in and conditioned to from birth. Still, “Easter”, in present name, means that to me. I guess I am fine with it.
I am reminded at this time of the year how miraculous the Christian faith really is. A fairly large group of individuals followed their spiritual leader only to watch him miserably and shamefully die. From all accounts, they and their new belief system took a large blow. This execution also killed the new religion of these men and women. They went back to their old lives with their tails between their legs.
Then, something happened. The new faith surged! There was talk of this man Jesus actually be seen – returning from the dead as He said He would and talking and teaching to His followers. Even though the tomb was empty and there was no sign of the body, that doesn’t mean he resurrected, does it? Many of the skeptics accused Jesus’ followers from bribing the soldiers guarding the tomb and stealing the body. There were all kinds of theories.
Yet, something happened that took these dejected followers from their hopeless lives and brought them back to preaching Jesus resurrected. They, by the hoards, were willingly dying for this new belief system. Non-believing historians such as the Roman Tacitis and the Jewish Josephus recorded the unlikely events of this new Christian group - that they grew from nothing and hopelessness, to zealots in the name of this Jesus who was rumored to have conquered death. The disturbing query was this: why would these people come back to this faith, preaching a resurrected Jesus if they merely stole and hid the body? Why would they willingly die for a cause they knew was a lie? They knew if they really saw Him. They knew if they really hid his body? What would they gain but death?
Today, as we watch the kiddies run and find their eggs – when we are gorging on ham and chocolate, remember the resurrection. It is more than a rumor about one teacher long ago coming back to life. It was that and more. Easter reminds us that life-changing hope was resurrected by a group of people who actually knew whether or not there was hope. The facts they really knew and their lives that had to respond to those facts gives hope to us all.
"They believe that what Jesus taught is the most important thing about the whole Jesus story. But it isn't."
What makes this message great is also what makes it offensive: Jesus died bearing the weight of our sin and was raised to life/we sin, so he needed to die, otherwise we would be dead.
(I'm sure my use of commas is incorrect there, but I don't know how to fix it!)
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