Imagine your shock if Aunt Betsie came knocking on your door three days after you attended her funeral. You would want an explanation as to how this was possible. You would wonder if it is safe to answer the door. In short, you would probably stand there incredulous as to what was before you. Your mind would be blown.
But this is exactly what we celebrate at Easter. Jesus came back from being dead and caused a stir in Jerusalem one Sunday morning. This event should cause us to ask all sorts of questions if we are really connecting with what happened.
Is this myth or did Jesus actually rise from the dead? If it is not a myth, how is the resurrection of Jesus possible? What implications does the resurrection of Jesus have for humanity?
With regard to the first question, there is one argument that in my mind stands above all the others against the idea of the resurrection being a myth. All of Jesus’ first followers went to their graves believing and proclaiming that Jesus did indeed rise from the dead. The apostles were all martyred or exiled because of this belief. It is hard to imaging that if there was conspiracy to promote a myth that all of them would have maintained the story as being true. For other arguments for the truth of the resurrection, I suggest reading The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus by Habermas and Licona.
With regard to the second question, Paul writes this about Jesus is Romans 1:4:
“and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,” (ESV)
Because Jesus was the Son of God, he was able to conquer death and rise again. The resurrection was proof that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Of Jesus, the Nicene Creed states:
“We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.“
There are many implications for believers as a result of the resurrection but I will state two of them. First, it is right to worship Jesus in response to the event of the first Easter. The second one is that the resurrection of Jesus proves that we do not need to fear death. We may fear the process of dying, but we should not fear the result.
A corollary of the removal of fear of death is that all our other fears should be alleviated. If death has no power over us, what else is there to fear?
I’m not saying that I live this way, but I am acknowledging that I should. This is a classic example of “do as I say, not as I do” because I often respond in fear to my circumstances.
Today is Easter, the day set aside to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. Can we at least acknowledge that the event we celebrate should give us victory over all fear? Perhaps with that acknowledgement, we can take baby steps toward living that way.