Summary: We Christians have experienced great things and have great stories to tell...if only we’ll tell them!
Every year at the University of Chicago Divinity School, they have what is called "Baptist Day." On this one day, everyone brings a picnic lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. The school would invite some great theological mind to lecture while the students and faculty ate their lunches.
One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich, who spoke for two and one-half hours "proving" that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.
After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. "Docta Tillich, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it.
"Docta Tillich"... CRUNCH, MUNCH... "My question is a simple question," CRUNCH, MUNCH. "Now, I ain’t never read them books you read..." CRUNCH, MUNCH...and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek"...CRUNCH, MUNCH ..." I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger"...CRUNCH, MUNCH... He finished the apple. "All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate - was it bitter or sweet?"
Dr. Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple."
The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus."
The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain them. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
Have you tasted Jesus? That is our question for this Sunday after Easter.
It is called, in the church calendar, “Low Sunday.” The questions for this Sunday after Easter are... "What now?" Where have we come from? Where are we going? Did Easter make any difference?
1 John was written for Low Sunday. It was written for the time after Easter when we begin to doubt what we know is true. People started to say, I wonder if he was only a spirit or a ghost or an apparition. So John wrote this first of three short letters to answer one question, “Is he real?”
He uses three arguments summed up in the third verse; 3We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.
From the very first day, we were there, taking it all in—we heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, and verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! And now we’re telling you in most sober prose that what we witnessed was, incredibly, this: The infinite Life of God himself took shape before us.