Summary: There is a rumor going around that no one seems able to stop.
There is a rumor going around that no one seems able to stop. In spite of the many people who have tried to stop the rumor, and offer evidence against it, it seems to be growing. The rumor is incredible, but in spite of that there are a great many who accept it as true. It actually started a long time ago, but there are more and more who believe it as time goes on. It is not a bad rumor, in fact it seems to change people for the good and change the way they look at life. It seems to add a new dimension and hope to their existence. The rumor seems to have a transforming power in the lives of those who believe it. Several years ago I began to believe the rumor myself, and felt it changing me and the way I think. It affected my values. The things I used to think were important are no longer important to me. And along with the other people who believe this rumor I believe that no matter how difficult life becomes my life has hope and meaning. I believe that my life is absolutely secure and that I will live forever, and so will those I love who also believe the rumor.
The rumor was started by a couple of women. No one believed them at first. They cast it off as nonsense. And just to prove that they were wrong, and because they wanted to be able to explain what really happened, some of the men went to check out their story. But the more they tried to explain the rumor away the more they became convinced themselves that it was true. Here they were, grown men, and believing the unbelievable. The rumor was validated to them when after they believed, Christ appeared to them and confirmed the truth of the rumor. He was alive. Death could not hold him. They had to see that he really was God after all. No one but God could come back from the grave. Not only was he still alive, but he obviously possessed a health that far surpassed their own. There was something invincible about him. But his body was very real. They could touch him, and he ate with them.
They had seen him raise other people from the dead, but it was understood that they would eventually die again. But there was something different about this rumor. Somehow they knew that death would never again touch him. The rumor was true: Jesus Christ had died, but rose from the dead to live forever. He was also promising that because he was alive forevermore that we would live as well. There awaited, for those believing his promise, eternal life. If the rumor is true there is no need to fear death. For death is only the deterioration of shell of flesh which has housed our spirit, and the spirit will live on and gain a new body that will never die.
I visited Howard Cullen in the hospital this week. Because I asked he told me of some of the physical problems he has and about his constant battle with pain, which he never without. I said to him, “There is a rumor going around that we are going to have new bodies some day.” Without missing a beat he said, “I believe that and I’m counting on it. I’ve already signed up for it.” He believes the rumor.
It is a rumor, but if the rumor is true it matters little whether our existence is easy or difficult, for whether we live or die we are the Lord’s. His love will someday remove us from a dying world and place us in a world that does not know death. The apostle Paul put it like this, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.” It is a rumor, but if the rumor is true there is nothing about which we need to worry, and there is a great deal about which we should be excited. The rumor is that he is alive forever, and his promise is that I can live forever. Someday this dying flesh will fall away and I will be clothed with immortality. Someday every tear will be wiped away from my eyes, every fear will be taken from my heart, every hope turned into reality, and every expectation fully realized.
There is a rumor going around, and for some that is a rumor too good to be true. Even for those who knew Jesus best it was too good to be true. The words of the women seemed like an idle tale. The two disciples on the road to Emmaus did not believe the rumor. They heard it like the others had, but they could not bring themselves to believe it. They did not believe it until they had their eyes opened and saw him themselves and shared a meal with him. We have the name of one of them: Cleopas. His companion was more than likely his wife, Mary. We read about her in John 19:25: “Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Cleopas, and Mary Magdalene.” She is the wife of Cleopas, but more importantly, she had been at the cross and witnessed the horrific scene. She needed encouragement and assurance. She had heard the rumor and needed to know that it was true.