It’s Easter season again! There are rows and rows of hollow chocolate eggs, bunnies, even crosses everywhere we go. People are wearing more pastels and taking family photos in their nice new clothes. Even people who don’t go to church are thinking that it’s just about time for that one visit a year to get it off their conscience…
You can also bet that we’ll hear about some new discovery, some historical finding that, if true, “could completely invalidate everything we’ve ever known about the Christian message”…blah, blah, blah. You can count on it. When the world is thinking about the resurrection, people are having to deal with that millennia-old question: “Is it true that Jesus rose from the dead?” Skeptics have their ready list of the reasons why, even if the tomb was empty, something happened to Jesus’ body other than the resurrection.
This month, in my blogposts I will be dealing with some of the best reasons why we should believe the resurrection. Reasons that include: the fact that there were many people who said that the tomb was empty (many of whom were alive when the gospels and the letters of Paul were written), and the fact that the Gospel was preached assuming the tomb was empty.
But the best apologetic reason to believe in the empty tomb has always been the drastic change in the disciples. The same men who ran away the night Jesus was arrested (Mt. 26:56), who denied knowing Him even to a little girl (Lk. 22:56-57), and who huddled in fear after the crucifixion (Jn. 20:19), were the very same men who preached boldly before all who would hear them in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Ac. 2:14-41). The best explanation for the change in their hearts, all of whom suffered and most were killed for witnessing to Jesus, is that they saw the resurrected Lord in the flesh. They ate with Him (Jn. 21:9-14), talked with Him (Lk. 24:13-32), and touched Him (Jn. 20:26-29) during the forty days between His resurrection and ascension. No one who was such a coward could be transformed into such a bold believer in such a short amount of time without a miracle. And a miracle is precisely what happened. They saw Jesus, and as they tell the religious leaders in Acts 4:20, they could not help but tell everyone who would listen all about it.
So amidst all this haze of plastic grass and everything-shaped chocolates, examine your own life. Are you able to not talk about Jesus? If He is risen from the dead, is there anything on earth more important than that message? May we be a people who cannot but speak of what we, too, have seen and heard.