First Baptist Church
The Reality of Jesus
March 23, 2008
Let me start out with a riddle ~~
A man lives on the 10th floor of a building. Every day he takes the elevator down to the ground floor in order to leave the building. When he returns home he takes the elevator to the 6th floor and walks up the stairs to reach his apartment on the tenth floor. He does this everyday, unless it’s raining. If it rains, he rides the elevator all the way to the 10th floor. Why does he do this?
Here’s another one ~ Anthony and Cleopatra are lying dead on the floor of a villa in Egypt. The window was open and there is water and glass all over the floor. There are no marks on either Anthony or Cleopatra, and they were not poisoned. How did they die?
A man rode into town on Friday. He stayed for three nights and then left on Friday. How is that possible? The man’s horse was called Friday.
Mr. Black asks for tea and gets $5,000. Then he asks for eyes, but Mrs. White can’t give him any. Mr. Black is a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune.
Did you ever play those kind of mind games. Some of you will sit for hours in order to figure them out, others will simply wonder who thought this up. They have too much time on their hands. Especially when you hear the answers, you’ll really dislike them. It is called “Lateral Thinking.”
Just so you won’t be trying to figure those out the rest of the morning, I’ll tell you the answers.
In the 1st case, the reason the man would only go the 6th floor on his return home, was because that was the highest button he could reach on the elevator control panel. He was a short man. On days that it rained, he had his umbrella with him, so he could use the umbrella to punch the button that indicated his floor.
In the 2nd situation, it might help you to know Anthony and Cleopatra are fish. The dog, Brutus, knocked over the fish bowl, which broke and spilled water all over the floor.
Now that you’ve got the hang of it, let’s try one more. On Friday night, a man dies. He’s buried that same night. On Sunday morning, His friends arrive at the grave, only to discover His body is gone. What happened?
One of the problems of Jesus’ resurrection, is that some people try to make sense out of everything that happened. They try to understand exactly how Jesus could die and then come back to life again. Let me tell you something. . . it’s a secret so I need to whisper it . . . ‘none of it makes any sense.’
Now you’re wondering what in the world is he talking about? But think about it from our rational, logical, analytical minds. Does it make sense that a man can be dead for 3 days and come back to life? No, it doesn’t make any sense.
But, let me ask you, how much of life makes sense? Look at the headlines over the past week. We’ve read about more than 80 people killed in Tibetan riots relating to China;
read about a refinery explosion in Texas which killed 15 people; Jeff Weise’s rampage in Red Lake, MN killing 10; Brian Nichols kills 4 people in Atlanta; a suicide bomber kills 15 in Iraq; and we have the Terri Schiavo controversy - which has become a modern day Greek tragedy.
There are not only polls for the NCAA tournament, but there are polls for the Terri Schiavo situation. Does any of this really make sense? Yet, all of this is real, this is real life taking place.
Do you wonder, where is God in all of this? What’s His will? What do we, who claim to confront death with a different heart, a Christ-centered heart, think and more importantly, what is it we do? Is making sure we all have a living will which speaks for us, good enough? How about a living heart? A living mind? That we would continue to speak of God’s love long after we die? Is the fleshly life so sacred that we ignore the spiritual life? Is Terri Schiavo’s spirit/soul still there amidst what’s left of her brain? (Doctors tell us only the brain stem is functioning. The rest, they say, has completely stopped functioning with only a “we don’t know everything” chance to return.)
Meanwhile, loving people are unable to find common ground and have resorted to the courts to decide the matter.
Is the overarching rule of “life at any costs,” physical life, that is, the only “higher standard?” What of those who proclaim life after death? ...power beyond the grave? ...Spirit over flesh?