Summary: The Resurrection of Jesus - what foolishness unless.........
Mt 28:1-10: A post Resurrection story of Jesus
Story: On Maundy Thursday (24th March 2005) there was an article in the Daily Telegraph which stated:
“Less than half of Britons know why Christians celebrate Easter, according to new research. Only 48 per cent of adults questioned for a survey were aware that the festival marks the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
About 40 per cent were able to name Judas Iscariot as the man who betrayed Jesus, while a quarter recognised the name of Dr Rowan Williams as the Archbishop of Canterbury, and only eight per cent knew that Karol Wojtyla is Pope John Paul II.
The poll, commissioned by Reader’s Digest, showed that 64 per cent believe in God and 58 per cent in an afterlife. Thursday 24th March 2005 Daily Telegraph (http://www.opinion.telegraph. co.uk/news main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005 /03/23/neast23.xml)
The majority of people still call themselves Christian, at least in a loose sense.
In New Romney for example the last published Government statistics show 77.7% who claim to be Christian.
Yet we are woefully ignorant - as a country - of the meaning of Easter
And yet, the Resurrection of Jesus - which we celebrate at Easter - is a major pillar of our faith
Every Sunday we profess our faith in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead when we say the words of the Creed:
“ I believe ..….in Jesus Christ,
his only Son our Lord who was
Conceived by the Holy Spirit,
Born of the Virgin Mary,
Suffered under Pontius Pilate,
Was crucified, dead and buried
He descended into Hell;
The third day he rose again from the dead”
(The Apostles Prayer - BCP)
Why is the Resurrection important to the Christian faith?
Because it is the reason that the Church has grown from a “backwater sect” of Judaism to the major world religion.
As Professor Charlie Moule, the famous NT theologian once said:
"the birth and rapid rise of the Christian Church ... remains an unsolved enigma for any historian who refuses to take seriously the only explanation offered by the church itself - the resurrection." (C.F.D. Moule, The Phenomenon of the New Testament).
Because without it – our faith is a waste of time .
St. Paul put it like this:
“..if Christ has not been raised from the dead, your faith is futile” (I Cor. 15: 17)
With such a ridiculous claim, have you ever stopped to consider the question:
“How on earth did Christianity ever
get off the ground?”
What do I mean?
There are a number of logical reasons why Christianity should never have got off the ground?
1. Jesus’ background
Firstly, its founder, Jesus of Nazareth was an obscure carpenter from a back woods of the Roman Empire - Israel. He wasn’t even a priest or a civil dignitary or a general.
He didn’t come from the one big city in Israel -Jerusalem, but from what the Jews themselves considered “hill billy country” – Nazareth in Galilee.
In those days if you wanted to make an impact on the world’s stage – the conventional wisdom was that you had to go and live in Rome, Athens or Alexandria.
No one wanting to make a name for himself would consider spending time in Jerusalem, let alone Galilee