By: Rev. Ed Schneider, M.P.Th.

revitalizeyourchurch@gmail.com

PART 2  {to read part 1 click here}

So, with the previous Chapter firmly planted in your mind, I want to quickly offer TWO examples how we can be assured in the legitimacy of the celebration of Easter.

Although I admit we are attempting to play a “spiritual game” of “bible detective” I firmly believe the following two examples are just part of a long list of reasonable and practical assurances regarding the resurrection moment’s accuracy.

The authenticity of Jesus’ resurrection event can securely rest on rational and reasonable deduction and NOT merely a literary vehicle based in the mythology of an indigenous religion.

The first example offfered in this investigative assumption is specifically supported because of the doubting, contentious and cowardly display of Jesus’ inner circle of followers leading up to His crucifixion and burial.

This may seem an odd place to rest my assurances, but is not. If the writers of the Bible were conspiring to create a great literary work of heroic “fiction” then they would have certainly made Jesus’ immediate followers to appear heroic before the resurrection event. In actuality, every one of them expressed doubt in their participation in Jesus’ description of God’s kingdom. With the exception of a small group of faithful and courageous women, the apostles openly disobeyed and eventually left Him to face His public humiliation, torturous punishment and eventual death alone.

Beloved, why would I rest my belief on these people? Because of what happened after that remarkable third day of being shut up in the tomb where Jesus had been buried. These less than admirable human beings turned instantly into roaring lions. They became suddenly willing to give their lives for Jesus. They would no longer be silenced regardless of the cost.

There is no other plausible explanation to consider except something dramatic and uniquely outrageous happened and it was recognized as something so unusual, so out of the ordinary, so life altering that it couldn’t be turned away from or resisted.

What was it that so completely transformed these men and what still today testifies to the reality of the resurrection moment? The reality of the resurrection lies directly at the feet of profoundly changed hearts, minds, intellects, character and spiritual connection to the “truth” of the power and purpose of God.

giant-spider-screaming-womanBeloved, the resurrection is made crystal clear when each soul has opened to the personal reality of the resurrection moment for themselves. With each lost, left out, disenfranchised, self-serving or victimized life being transformed into a vehicle of God’s love and power the resurrection of Jesus becomes undeniable, factual, and it becomes truth.

Beloved, there is no other logical, reasonable, rational explanation to offer concerning the immediate turnaround in the early followers of Jesus. In my mind, it screams that the resurrection, in some way, in some form, in some miraculous means was absolutely – positively – real.

The second example concerning the PROOF OF THE RESURRECTION is as follows.

Beloved, through the God-given gift of “belief” in the resurrection of Christ the Christian finds it “perfectly reasonable” the whole of the Jesus saga. This saga when personalized and genuinely internalized not only finds a logical foothold but also profound tangible evidence of its reality. When God awakens each believer to the actuality of the resurrection then the darkness of disbelief is quickly replaced with the glorious light of divine understanding.  This Divine understanding changes lives. It transforms circumstances. It moves doubt into determination. It obviously and dramtically uplifts those who the rest of the world gave up on…even thrown away onto the scrap heap of human uselessness. As all believers already know, once the resurrection becomes “real” it demonstrates God’s power to overcome futility, forgive sin, rewrite personal history, defeat death, and open up a new future for the whole of creation.

The believer sees like they couldn’t see before. They hear like they couldn’t hear before. They walk with a different pace while laughing more boldly. The believer experiences life, their NEW LIFE, in dramatic and sustainable ways. Others they interact with in their daily walk of life, become more important than themselves. Forgiveness and emotional healing of all kinds become normal and even expected.  those who have experienced Christ’s resurrection discover a type of joy in the daily experiences of life easier to find and share. The believer thinks like couldn’t think before. They sing like they couldn’t sing before. They pray with passion and purpose and they are seldom the first person they lift into God’s gracious hands. When the resurrection becomes real, it becomes powerfully, permanently, and profusely personal.

The Easter story of dying and rising is not merely Christ’s story, it is our story. It is a personal testimony of “an awakened soul.”  The Bible says to “walk according to the Spirit.”  This Divinely inspired “walking” does not necessarily involve a life of spiritual highs and miraculous occurrences….although those certainly do happen.  Our post-resurrection awakening provides the believer and ultimate and illogical determination to follow Christ’s biblical pattern of being connected to God Almighty.  Believers become stragely determined to die to fear and sinful desire while rising in the great expectation of new and thoroughly abundant life. Again, as we become more and more involved in the daily understanding and personal application of Christ’s own story it powerfully transforms, in the most wonderful way, into our story.

When Christ’s RESURRECTION becomes not JUST A STORY but rather a “shared experience” lives are transformed…unexplainedly so!  In the final analysis of whether the resrrection moment is real, the only actual answers lies not in the biblical witness. It lies at the feet of every changed heart….every changed life….and every hateful thought changed into a loving display of the grace of God. Every time Jesus’ story of resurrection becomes our story then the Easter celebration transcends the seasonal symbolism into practical…undeniable….PROOF that the resurrection of Jesus was real then….AND REAL NOW!

For me and millions of others, we will spend the rest of our days on this earth proclaiming the validity and power of not only the “resurrection moment“ but also OUR resurrection moment.

Peace.

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