(Bible quotations are from the NIV unless otherwise stated)
2nd April 2010
Do you think the Christian message is nonsense? Or perhaps you're a Christian but your loved ones think it's all nonsense? Well, that's what the early disciples thought, too. Let's look at Luke 24v1-12:
The women were expecting to anoint his body. Theyíd had no expectation at all that Jesus might rise from the dead.
Again, they had no idea what was going on.
The two angels (thatís what they were) asked the women that great rhetorical question, ďWhy do you look for the living among the dead?Ē and then immediately explained, ďHe is not here; he has risen!Ē
And thatís why Christians go out into the streets and talk to people they donít know; we proclaim with the angels (but 2000 years later) that Jesus Christ has risen from the dead. Itís not what people expect, any more than itís what the women expected that first Easter morning. But itís true!
The angels went on to say, ďRemember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ĎThe Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised againí". Many people have read the Bible, or have being taught Bible stories, but many donít remember that the Bible told us Jesus would rise from the dead, just as the women hadnít remembered Jesusís words.
Do you think God the Father enjoyed seeing Jesus crucified? Would the Father have allowed it to happen if it wasnít necessary? Of course not! One thing we can be absolutely sure of in this universe is that God the Father loves God the Son.
The only reason God the Father stood by while the Jews arrested Jesus, and put him on trial, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, who gave Him up to the Roman soldiers to whip and crucify Him, was that, as the angels say, it was necessary. Jesus Himself had told them in advance that ďThe Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised againĒ. But it only made sense to them after the resurrection!
Theyíd been told, by Jesus Himself, several times. But they hadnít understood it. Itís very easy to ignore what you donít understand. But after the resurrection they understood! As verse 8 says:
When they could see that the crucifixion ended in resurrection, that death ended in life, that apparent defeat ended in real victory, then they remembered what Jesus had taught them.
When the women found out the truth, what did they do? They told others! And thatís why we speak to others. By Godís grace alone, weíve seen the truth: Jesus is alive! And we go out and tell others that the old story is actually true! And itís totally life-changing!
Christians tell their friends and family and neighbours. We start conversations with people we donít know, to get a chance to tell them that the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead is available to men and women like us. Through the forgiveness that can be ours through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit, our sin can be turned to purity, our hopelessness to hope, our pain to joy, our defeats to victories, our spiritual death to eternal life.
We often get the same response today. Often, people don't believe us, because our words seem to them like nonsense. When a person hears that the old story is true, that Jesus has risen from the dead and is alive, it can seem like nonsense. But that doesnít make it untrue. Itís just that such news is so surprising, so extraordinary, it seems too good to be true. But it is true!
Peter did the rational thing. He investigated for himself. And if these things seem nonsense to you, I urge you; donít take my word for it. Look into it for yourself. Ask God to reveal the truth to you. Read the gospel stories in the Bible again. Think through the evidence that Jesus is alive again. And I pray that you will find Jesus, as I have.
And if you've found Jesus but your loved ones haven't, then be patient with them. Remember there was a time when you didn't understand it either, there was even a time when Peter and his friends didn't get it. But God can reveal his truth to your loved ones, just as he did to the women at the tomb, and to the eleven, and to you, and to millions of people around the world.