Summary: EASTER AND THE RUMOR OF THE RESURRECTION AND OUR RESPONSE TO IT IS THE PIVOTAL POINT IN EVERY PERSON’S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY.
When the Rumors Become True -- Easter
I’d like you to take a quiz. Which of the following stories is true?
Woman Marries Eiffel Tower. Erika Eiffel said Her love of the Eiffel Tower is somewhat recent, and two years ago the San Francisco woman had a commitment ceremony and changed her name to reflect the bond.
A Florida man was naked and smoking crack cocaine when he was attacked by an 11 foot alligator. It took 4 deputies to free him from the animal who had his jaws locked around the stoned man. The victim suffered a broken arm, trauma to his leg, and a nearly severed left arm.
A big mouthed parrot in England spilled the beans about his owner’s love affair by repeating some incriminating phrases. The current boyfriend, named Chris, realized something was amiss when the bird kept saying, "Gary, I love you!"
Dr. James Burda of Ohio claimed he could treat anyone of any injury by traveling through time to the point where the injury occurred. He also claims to use his mind to manipulate the body, in the same way he commanded his foot to "heal" after hurting it while driving. Burda’s web site also offered long distance healing for $60 an hour. Dr. Burda has surrendered his license to practice at the request of state regulators.
3 year old Jack Neal purchased a pink convertible car on e-Bay for $17,000 surprising his mother who knew he was a computer whiz, but never imagined he knew how to bid at on-line auctions. Jack actually used the "buy it now" feature and since his mom had her password saved and credit card information on file, the sale went through. Luckily the seller had a good sense of humor and agreed not to force the sale.
Which was the true story? They all are.
Some stories are just so bizarre, so strange that they are hard to believe. That is true about the Resurrection story.
From the beginning people struggled to accept and believe the account--Jesus, the great rabbi teacher, the carpenters son, the condemned supposed blasphemer who hung on a cross between two thieves was alive again.
Look at how people responded to the story then.
Matt 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
Mark 16:2-5 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
Mark 16:12-13 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
Luke 24:36-37 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
John 20:10-14 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don’t know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
EASTER AND THE RUMOR OF THE RESURRECTION AND OUR RESPONSE TO IT IS THE PIVOTAL POINT IN EVERY PERSON’S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY.
1. Easter is the pivotal point because He did rise again.
A. The disciples could not have stolen the body.
The type of guard posted at Jesus’ grave was a Praetorian Guard, which consisted of four hardened soldiers. During each of the four watches of the night, one would keep watch while the other three slept. Their discipline was so strict that falling asleep on duty was punishable by death. The offending soldier was stripped, tied to a stake, and his clothes were used to start a fire to burn him alive. If it could not be determined who had fallen asleep (if for example, the guards tried to conceal the identity of the offender), one of the soldiers was chosen by lot and executed. So the guards were well motivated not to let anything happen to the body.
The disciples were Galileans, easily recognizable as such by their accents. The disciples were terrified of the authorities after the crucifixion; most likely they were afraid that they would be crucified as Jesus’ accomplices.