Summary: A look at the evidence of the resurrection and what it means.
What is the Easter Bunnies favorite sport? Basketball. What do you call the Easter Bunny after a hard days work? Tired. Okay I know those jokes were bad, I mean I had to look them up, but I used them to illustrate a simple point when it comes to Easter the world tends to focus on the Easter Bunny because what we really want is a resurrection we are afraid that it isn’t true. They are afraid to find that since Christianity sounds to good to be true that it is too good to be true. The fact that 86 percent of Americans claim to be Christians tells us two things, one that people instinctively know who God is and second that they want there to be something more. We want there to be a meaning and a purpose to our lives beyond ourselves and beyond what we can. The good news is that it’s all true; sadly too many people are afraid to examine the evidence and find the truth for themselves. They settle for paying lip service to God and hoping that when they die they will find that it is all true and that they will be in heaven.
It is a hope that we all have and something we should desire for everyone. God Himself is not willing that anyone should perish and yet most people never get around to finding the truth, sadly enough they even live under the assumption that if they were to dig to closely they would find a truth that they are unwilling to face. They remind me of a story told by Lee Strobel. When he was still a writer for the Chicago Tribune he received a phone call from a father desperate to find his missing 19 year old daughter. She was a good girl, never in any trouble, not much more than an innocent child-and now she was gone. The police weren’t helping, would he alert the city to her disappearance?
Moved by his anguish, Strobel began to pursue the story. But when he interviewed his daughter’s friends and the police, a much different story emerged. Tragically, it turned out she had been a drug addict, a petty criminal, the girlfriend of a gang member, and a part-time prostitute. When the police found her body a few days later, they determined she had been the victim of a heroin overdoes.
He didn’t have the heart to tell her father all the details I had learned about her lifestyle. He sincerely believed she was an innocent child, but he had been wrong. His love for his daughter had blinded him. He had seen what he wanted to see, overlooking obvious clues that pointed in another direction. Too many who reject Christ this is a close parallel to those of us who believe in Christ. They let us continue to believe what we want allowing us our illusion even though it seems so foolish. They write us off as people who are unwilling to question, unwilling to stare into the abyss because of the answer that we might receive back. All the while for the last 2000 years, Christian scholars have looked into that very abyss.
Look at what the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:14. What Paul literally wrote 2,000 years ago is that if there is no resurrection, if Christ does not literally come back from the dead then there is no reason for him to preach, there’s not reason for me to preach or anyone throughout the years. Literally Paul this man who lived at the time of Christ who gave his life to the cause of preaching the gospel said not only that he believed in the resurrection but that he believed it was so important that if it didn’t happen he had wasted his time.
Why? What is it about this one event that makes it so important? I mean Jesus was a good teacher, he taught a lot of good and worth while things. What would be wrong with that if he wasn’t God? Well let me give you another quote this one from a theologian, “In a profound sense, Christianity without the resurrection is not simply Christianity without its final chapter. It is not Christianity at all.” This is the power of the resurrection; the resurrection is what changes our understanding of Jesus from simply a good teacher, to the belief that He is God. The fact is that Jesus didn’t merely teach a bunch of ethical ideas. He didn’t merely teach us or model for us the act of loving our neighbor, He taught that He was God and that He had come to give us eternal life. That is the message of our key passage today.