Summary: We look at the resurrection and the difference is should make
He was dead, and with him died all of their dreams, all of their hopes everything they believed in. They had given everything to him, their past, their present even their future and up until three days ago it seemed like a pretty good bargain. All he had wanted was everything, and they gave it. All he had asked was that they believe and oh how they had believed. And why not they had seen the impossible, they hadn’t just thought the impossible, that’s easy, what was it the Queen of Hearts told Alice, “Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” They had seen the impossible, they had seen blind men see, they had seen lame men walk, and they had seen dead men live. They believed with all their hearts, but not anymore, now their beliefs were as dead as their master was.
And there was nothing to do but to go home, to leave Jerusalem, to leave their hopes to leave their dreams and just go home. They might as well try and recover their yesterdays because their tomorrows were as dead as Jesus was.
They had seen him beaten, they seen him crucified, they had seen him killed and they had seen him buried and they knew the dream was as dead as the dreamer. Unless, unless it was true what Mary had seen, she had seen an empty tomb, she had seen empty grave clothes and she had seen Jesus. And if that was the case than he wasn’t dead, he was alive. And if he was alive than everything was going to be all right.
I went and saw the Passion of the Christ when it first came out and a friend asked me how I felt about it and I told them “Disturbing”. And he looked at me a little strange and said “really, I really enjoyed it.” Seriously? I find that disturbing as well.
And the reason I found the Passion disturbing is because crucifixion is disturbing. But Christianity is not about the crucifixion of Christ it’s about his resurrection, Christianity is not about his death it’s about his life.
It’s not about mourning it’s about celebrating. The first Easter morning 2000 years ago must have begun as a bit of a downer, a dreary affair, with Jesus followers remembering what had happened, remembering the horror of Friday, remembering that their friend was dead and their dreams were shattered. But then the cry rang out he’s alive, the tomb is empty. And then, it happened, as quickly as turning on the lights, they weren’t mourning his being dead they were celebrating his being alive. It wasn’t defeat it was victory. Because he wasn’t dead he was alive and the tomb is empty.
But how do we know that? Well we do know from history that on the third day the body of Christ was missing. So where was it? We believe, as did the early church, that Christ had risen from the dead that there was actually a physical resurrection. It wasn’t a spiritual metaphor or a mass hallucination or a colossal hoax.
However, throughout the years there have been other theories put forward as well.
Last week a movie opened in town called “The Case for Christ”, it’s about Lee Strobels and how he came to faith.
Strobel’s was an atheist as well as an investigative reporter and legal editor for the Chicago Tribune. He wrote the book “Reckless Homicide” which was an exposé into Ford Motor’s cover-up of the problem they were having with the Pinto’s exploding gas tank.
When Strobel was 28 years old his wife became a Christian at Willow Creek Community Church. He was beside himself, figured that Leslie had been duped by a brainwashing cult and so he began to investigate the claims of Christianity.
His motives were to show his wife that Christianity couldn't possibly be true, instead through that journey he himself became a believer. After his conversion he wrote the book “The Case for Christ” which chronicled his investigation and is the basis for the movie.
I have been a Lee Strobel fan since I read his book “Inside the mind of Unchurched Harry and Mary” in 1992. Angela and I went to the movie last week and it is well worth watching.
In his book “The Case for Easter” Strobel wrote, “The starting point seemed obvious to me: Clearly, the resurrection was the linchpin of the Christian faith. After all, anyone can claim to be the Son of God. But if someone could substantiate the assertion by returning to life after being certifiably dead and buried --- well, that would be a compelling confirmation that he was telling the truth. Even for a sceptic like me.”
The first thing that Strobel wanted to confirm was that Jesus actually died on the cross.