Summary: Throughout history, many people have had doubts about many things. It is no wonder there were doubts about the resurrection.
Throughout history, some very smart people have said some not-so-smart things, and thanks to the internet, they will never be forgotten. For example, Thomas Watson, the Chairman of IBM said in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
When something new comes along that no one has ever experienced, it’s bound to get some raised eyebrows, shaking heads, as well as more than a few thumbs-down. Many of you remember back in 1962 when the Beatles came to Decca Recording Company and were rejected with these words: "We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out."
Even more than the Beatles or any cutting edge trend, this happened to Jesus. Even though there were prophesies in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Jews of that day didn’t just read these words, they had memorized many of them…. And even though Jesus himself had told of his death and resurrection for three years, not just to the disciples and close followers, but in the temple, to the religious hierarchy, to his enemies… In spite of all of this, most people, even his close followers, couldn’t fathom what happened on these three days. They couldn’t think that far outside of the box. Much like Charles Duell, the Commissioner at the U.S. Office of Patents in 1899 who said, "Everything that can be invented has been invented.”
If we are tending to have doubt, we will find things to doubt. The stories of the resurrection differ between the Gospel writers… so it must not be true. The women said they had an encounter with ANGELS. The burial spices had some hallucinogenic qualities; they probably were just under the influence! The disciples, who had been with Jesus for three years and had heard all that he said, were quick to dismiss the women’s story as an idle tale. They were WOMEN, after all, and they probably wanted it so badly that they talked themselves into it. Legitimate scientists dismissed Louis Pasteur, too, saying that, “[His] theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."
Did you notice? In our text, it’s Peter who runs to the tomb to check things out. You remember Peter, the one who had just denied three times that he even knew Jesus. And Luke tells us that Peter “went home, amazed at what had happened.” And the doubter in us speaks again: if this really was true, he wouldn’t have gone HOME, he would have run back to tell everyone. But then, because of his denials, his credibility was lacking, and the guys probably wouldn’t have believed him either.
In 1927, Harry Warner of Warner Brothers said, "Who the heck wants to hear actors talk?" Harry eventually got his head around the idea, but only after his little brother, Sam, started working in radio, and Warner Brothers ended the year with a net loss of over $300,000. THEN they started adding orchestration and eventually started making “talkies.”
Eventually, after several days and several sightings of Jesus, the women and the disciples and Peter eventually believed. And they told the story, repeatedly, and others came to believe. And here we are sitting outside on a cold Easter morning because we also believe.
Back in the 5th Century, Pope Leo wrote this about the disciples’ doubt over the resurrection: “Let us give thanks for the divine plan and the necessary ‘slowness’ of the holy fathers. They ‘doubted’ so that we need not doubt.”
Instead of doubting, we can celebrate because, whether or not anyone else believes it, we know it’s true. He is risen! He is risen indeed! Amen
Quotes and facts verified through Wikipedia