The Easter Story: What It Is Not Series
Contributed by Andrew Chan on Apr 12, 2003 (message contributor)
Summary: a challenge to think through the authentic easter’s message
16For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again. We have seen his majestic splendor with our own eyes. 17And he received honor and glory from God the Father when God’s glorious, majestic voice called down from heaven, "This is my beloved Son; I am fully pleased with him." 18We ourselves heard the voice when we were there with him on the holy mountain.
19Because of that, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. Pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a light shining in a dark place--until the day Christ appears and his brilliant light shines in your hearts. 20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophets themselves 21or because they wanted to prophesy. It was the Holy Spirit who moved the prophets to speak from God. 2 Peter 1:16-21 (NLT)
1. It is not about bunnies. (v.16)
-“For we were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our Lord Jesus Christ and his coming again”
Illus: How do I know the war in Iraq is real? Could it be made up? No, because the eyewitness account is too compelling. Real people, real blood and guts, real names, real bombs, real soldiers, with real weapons, real death…
Went to Universal Studios – props – all make-belief –readily admit that it is staged, larger than life. Façade were made by people that look like the real thing.
You want made up stories I can pt. You to a master – remember this guy in the past few weeks?
Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf.
MSNBC writer called him “He’s the mother of all press secretaries.”
From “Today, the tide has turned, we are destroying them” to “Be assured Baghdad is safe, secure and great. There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad, at all,”
— “They are sick in their minds. They say they brought 65 tanks into center of city. I say to you this talk is not true. This is part of their sick mind.”
And he’s not afraid to bring God’s character to testify — “Their forces committed suicide by the hundreds. ... The battle is very fierce and God made us victorious.”
“They are superpower of villains. They are superpower of Al Capone” Another doozy - ‘They are beginning to commit suicide at the walls of Baghdad and I encourage them to increase the rate of suicide. Their columns are being killed in the hundreds at the walls of Baghdad. We have fed them hell and death.’
Then we see Saddam’s statue being hauled down – lies that were to the Iraqis were made apparent.
Cleverly made up story - easter bunny from legends of fertility cults – no one really knows the pre-Christian pagan roots of the Easter tradition. Scholars seem to agree came from the worship of spring dedicated to goddess “Eastre”
2. It is not from Jesus’ imagination. (v.16b-18)
CS Lewis, noted scholar and professor of Medieval and Renaissance literature at Cambridge University once commented on the idea that the Gospel which tells the easter story as myth: “If he (the biblical critic) tells me something in a Gospel is legend or romance, I want to know how many legends and romances he has read, how well his palate is trained in detecting them…I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know not one of them is like this.”
My family and I were in Disney’s Fantasyland – the land of Snow white, Pinocchio, Cinderella, Peter Pan – we know it’s fantasy, because no one in history is anywhere close to those characters. They don’t even lived in real places. Their stories begin “once upon a time” or like fiction of Star wars “long, long ago in a far, far away galaxy”
But the Easter story it’s totally different. Because it is based on concrete events of history in real places, with real people with names and dates involved, and real eye-witnesses and real executions performed by the Romans. We know Lord of the Rings is fantasy because there is no evidence for the existence of beings called elves, and hobbits and ring wraiths. There is no such thing as that One ring that rules them all, or a world called “Middle Earth” but the Easter Second-century Roman historian Tacitus confirms that Christianity was founded by a man named Christus, whom he says was "put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius." You don’t use real names of real people, executions of people and real governments to describe a fantasy, a myth. Easter story is rooted in the real world of real people, real places, real conflicts,