Why I Really, REALLY Like Easter
I'd had all the normal attitudes, I suppose, toward Easter. You know .. one of the big holidays, Jesus is risen, etc. But a few years ago, something popped up in my brainspace that vaulted Easter past every other holiday on the calendar, to an unassailable top billing.
I shall explain.
Try to put yourself in the time period between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus is dead, and I mean as dead as you can get. Sure, I know the Bible says He was God in the flesh, but the Bible also says He did NOT think that equality with His Father was a thing to be grasped. I'm guessing He did not grasp it, then.
That would mean that, when He died, He really died, and lost all control of His future. He had to rely 100% on His Father to bring Him back to life. Hence, had God not intervened and resurrected Jesus, from death to eternal life, then Jesus would be dead, yet today. But He's not.
If He hadn't come back, He'd not have said He'd send the Holy Spirit to convict men of their sin, and to guide men into all truth.
So .. the time for talk was over .. the earthly miracles He performed all fade into the background, and the entire course of history waits to see if He stays in the tomb, or if He comes out. See .. if He stays there, then some of what He said wasn't true, and how could one place any trust in Him, if that were the case?
BUT .. if He DOES come out of the tomb, then it validates everything HE said about Himself, and it validates everything God had said about Him .. since only God Himself could bring Him back.
Go/No Go. Pass/Fail. Yes/No. Up/Down. The clearest contrast of possibilities, ever.
It was ALL on the line.
Then came Sunday.
Other theories have been stated, out of people's skepticism. The "swoon theory". Toss that one out .. those Roman guards were pretty good at what they did.
"The body was stolen by His followers." That would be more logical than the "swoon theory", but it fails hugely. And we have the religious rulers .. who hated Him .. to thank, for the proof. Check the following, which happened immediately after "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary" had visited the tomb, found the stone rolled away, and spoke with the Angel about the fact that Jesus was, once again, living:
"While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, "You are to say, 'His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.' If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day. (Matthew 28:11-15, NIV)
I love that passage, on two fronts: first, you don't bribe someone to tell the truth! That thought proves, to me, that the chief priests, the elders, and the guards all knew for sure that His body had not been stolen.
AND: this was done by those who had the most to lose, by Jesus' resurrection! I mean, if I prophesy you are going to have an accident, and then I run you off the road, that's hardly prophecy! But .. if you accidentally run off the road all by your lonesome, then my words would assume a different magnitude. Same deal with the religious leaders of the day; they had the most to lose by His resurrection, yet their words and deeds, to me, prove it.
So .. leaving out those two possibilities, we're left with the fact of God's resurrecting Jesus, Himself.
The biggest pass/fail time in history, and He passed with flying colors. I'd love to have been there to see it, yet I know that, without the Holy Spirit, I'd have been no better than those who denied Him after the crucifixion, or those who hid in the upper room until the Holy Spirit came and gave the more than they could contain.
How else can I possibly respond to all that, other than to want more than I can contain, myself.
Amen, Lord. Let it be.