This is the first year I have celebrated Easter in the States in over 4 years. Yesterday my church had a Good Friday service where we praised God for his death on the cross and victorious resurrection from the dead. We celebrate a living, true God.
But for some, the Easter bunny is just as real to them as God and Jesus’ resurrection. I mean honestly, we live in an advanced, rational, scientific world today. Do people really believe in some mythic God and a God-man (Jesus) who becomes man, dies for everyone past, present, and future, and then miraculous rises from the dead? I mean, let’s be real, resurrection only happens with zombies. Doesn’t it? Who would believe in such a fairy tale?
Let’s consider the facts. Did this resurrection really happen?
Some say perhaps Jesus never really died. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a spear thrust into your ribs, but that’s what one of the soldiers did to make sure he was dead. These are battle-hardened soldiers who have fought for Rome and know how to kill. They mete out death, and they have an intimate knowledge of it. They knew that Jesus was dead.
Others say that perhaps the disciples really did steal Jesus’ body. First of all, the disciples would have to get past the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb. Next they have this small problem with a rock covering the entrance. During antiquity, these rocks generally weighed at least a ton (2,000 lbs.). Not only that, once they sealed the entrance, they would have had to roll it up an incline in order to enter the tomb. Oh and one more thing, the disciples were cowering in their room when Jesus appeared to them. When Jesus died, they thought that their Messiah was gone forever.
Ok, maybe he wasn’t stolen, but what about a hallucination? I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t have weird dreams and visions sometimes? Well, if you believe the Bible, which I do, it describes several eyewitness accounts. The 12 disciples saw Jesus. Several women saw Jesus. Oh yes, and 500 people saw Jesus too at another time. 500 people had a hallucination? I doubt it.
So how do you know this whole mythic resurrection story wasn’t just a great elaborate lie propagated to unlearned, ignorant people who wanted a Messiah figure?
Well, think about it. If you came up with a story about a god and wanted to convince others about this god, would you ever in your wildest dreams come up with the crucifixion and resurrection? Who would create a god and then have this all-powerful god become his creation, live perfectly, die a horrific, bloody death, take upon himself the sins of the world, and then rise again to prove his godhood? Why not send an emissary? Couldn’t there be another way?
No there wasn’t any other way. God should have allowed us all to die and live life eternally separated from him forever. But He gave us a way out. He sent His Son, the God-man Jesus, to die in our place. All we have to do is acknowledge that we are sinners who rebelled against God, believe that Jesus died for us and then rose again, and ask Him to save us. Then he will graciously accept us into his family.
So yes, I believe in Easter. I believe there is a God. I believe He sent His Son Jesus to die for the sins of each person past, present, and future. And I believe Jesus rose again proving He has the power to save sins.
Without the resurrection, I would be believing in a great lie propagated by an insane liar who claimed to be God. Because of the resurrection, I have faith in a true, living God. And that’s what Easter is all about.