Summary: Now what has Tarzan got to do with the Post Easter days the Saviour spent on Earth before His ascension? Well...read on...
POST EASTER “IDENTITY CRISIS” AND "TARZAN"!!!
Let me begin with a Tarzan story! Well, this is as real as it is surreal. Johnny Weissmuller, the Champion Olympic swimmer who donned the role of Tarzan the ape man in the Silver screen with as much aplomb in 1930s & 40s’ as he dominated the Olympic swimming lanes in 1920s’, had a “close encounter of a different kind” with the Pro-Fidel Castro’s soldiers in late 1950s’. When the Cuban uprising was reaching its peak, he and his golf mates (on a recreational tour to Cuba) on Havana’s suburbs were surrounded by gun-toting Cuban revolutionaries, who on mistaking them for Pro-regime supporters were intent on kidnapping them. When all his pleadings to convince them that he was the harmless movie Tarzan on a normal tour (with no political links) failed to convince them, he came-up with a spectacular ‘Tarzan act’ immaculately. Thumping his chest in a typical Tarzan style, he gave out a blood curdling yell “KREEGAH TARZAN BUNDALO”, so much so that the highly impressed Pro-Castro’s men immediately curtsied with the words “Welcome Tarzan, welcome to Cuba" and escorted him and his friends to a safer area. Let me cut this story short here but doesn’t this story in a small way mirror the anguish of our own Lord in identifying Himself to his disciples post-resurrection?
Mary of Magdalene failed to recognize him at the first instance (John 20:14-15), ditto it with his followers on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13), throw in the confused disciples and the other followers who mistook him for a ghost on his sensational appearance (Luke 24:37) and the picture of ‘identity crisis’ of a special kind would be complete. No wonder there is a record of He rebuking them for unbelief (Mark 16:14)!
This Easter, continuing with the ‘Identification theme’ in this message, Yours Truly intends to focus on the following sub-topics,
1. Identifying the Resurrection prophecies and their significance thereof
2. Identifying the Messiah’s Cause
3. Identifying ourselves with the Messiah’s Cause
4. Identifying ourselves with the Resurrection power
5. Identifying the Completion of Salvation work
6. Identifying the “Blessed hope” borne of “Resurrection” in believers by Unbelievers…
7. Identifying the times, we are living in
Identifying the Resurrection prophecies and their significance thereof…
When so many events relating to Jesus’ life had been prophesied such as…
a) his virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14)
b) triumphal entry into Jerusalem on a donkey (celebrated as Palm Sunday in Christendom – Zechariah 9:9)
d) sufferings on the cross (Psalm 22:15)
to name a few, it follows that an event as paramount as Resurrection would also be foretold in the Scriptures. Well, it was in Psalm 16:10/ Psalm 49:15 in oh-so-clear terms that its fulfillment should not have come as a surprise to His ardent followers but it sadly did, so much so that the good Lord had to remind some of them of the same painstakingly (Luke 24:27) on the Easter evening.
Why so many Prophecies, even without a single prophecy our good Lord could have come to Planet Earth , finished the redemption plan and gone back. You see there is no shortage of rationalists in this World who demand a proof for everything before accepting any Divine act as Divinely inspired. On one solitary life of the Saviour, hinged the entire salvation of Mankind! Lest the Jews and then Gentiles (Gospel was preached in this order- Rom 1:16)’ attribute the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), place of his birth (Micah 5:2), atoning death on the cross (Psalm 22:16/ Isaiah 53), resurrection (Psalm 16:10-11, Acts 2:28) and his victorious ascension (Psalm 68:18/ Eph 4:18) to a sheer accident or coincidence, the Heavenly Father who is a great facilitator (Gen 24:7) in His infinite wisdom had everything written down in “black and white”, several centuries before those landmark events even occurred in order the entire Gospel-preaching/Soul-winning process is “facilitated smoothly”, as it were.
Minus the Resurrection prophecy (Psalm 16:10), could Spirit-filled Peter have preached with such conviction and authority on the Day of Pentecost (the Birthday of the Church- Acts 2:22-36)) so as to receive a response of remorse and repentance from (can you believe it) 3000 devotees (Acts 2:37)!!! Mind you these Jews were not "social sinners" in the category of murderers or thieves or adulterers' but I reiterate “sincere devotees” who in observance of the Law had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Annual festival of Pentecost (Deu 16:16-17). Yet courtesy Scripture-backed (Psalm 16:10), Spirit empowered preaching of Peter ensured that a contrite spirit was birthed in them. Oh how true is the fact that in God’s scheme of things both God’s Word and God’s Spirit (Isa 59:21) operate like 2 blades of scissor (they never work in isolation but in unison) to “cut the heart” (read bring about conviction) for the better of those exposed to the Gospel.