Brent opens the group’s weekly discussion by saying, Let’s discuss what Easter means for us.
I’d like to recite part of the poem that James read last week: “And all who’ve felt Friday’s (rejection), or watched a loved one depart, sinking into the depths of perplexity, may also feel
Sunday’s rising from the deep, feel God embracing God, and all the weeping, yet no longer pitiful, friends of the forsaken one”.
At this point Pastor Cortez interjects, We are like Mary saying to the “gardener”—“They’ve taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they’ve put him.” (John 20:13)
But then I recall, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Cor. 15)
So there’s hope, for all of us. We don’t have to first quit sinning, and then come to Christ. We need to come to the Cross, and then invite the risen Lord in to our hearts, thinking, lives, and save us from the power of sin, death, judgment, fear, emptiness and lovelessness.
But Pastor, Tony, our philosophy student, breaks in, I read some atheist who claimed that we don’t really know that Jesus rose from the dead; all we have is some biblical witnesses to this. How would you answer that?
Cortez replies. First, Who rolled away the stone? The tomb was heavily guarded by Roman soldiers, and when the disciples preached that He had risen, the religious authorities would have said, “You can’t preach that: we know where the body is.”
Second, Jesus appeared not to just some women, but to the disciples, and to about 500 others. The impact on them, and all followers of Him ever since, has been enormous. The early apostles, and countless martyrs since, wouldn’t have died for what they knew to be a lie!
Third, Jesus himself predicted both his death and resurrection. C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity, says that Jesus is either liar and lunatic, or Lord. He made certain claims about himself, about His relationship to his Father, and did certain things, like forgive people their sins, and tell them to follow Him, that if He were not the Son of God, he’d have to be crazy. So you cannot say “Jesus was a great teacher, but he lied about some big things.”
Finally, in John 7:17 He says, “If anyone would know of my doctrine, if it is of God, let him do the Father’s will.” You will then see for yourself that John 3: 16 is true. So, faith need not be blind at all, but rather, scientific! In fact, Biblical faith is NOT in spite of evidence, it is confidence, trust, hope, relationship with God and hope for life beyond this life, based on evidence. Those who come to the Cross, and ask Jesus in to save them from their sins and loveless emptiness, and be Lord of their lives, will know this personally.
Through His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension Jesus was able to fulfill his promise, “I go to prepare a place for you”. Our Jesus, and our Abba (Pappa) God, is alive!
Jesus “was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 1:4) He is Lord over all, even death. He lives to forever intercede for us and to pull us forward to new life, new ways to love God and others, leading us into eternal life!
Thanks, Pastor, says Brent. Now let’s not just hunt for Easter eggs, but “seek—knock—ask” for the new life Jesus promises. (Matt. 7: 7, 8) Let’s pray. . . . Happy Easter, everyone!