Sunday, April 09, 2006

E is for Easter

I just got back from viewing Lee Stobel’s The Case for Easter. It is late and I am tired but I want to share what I learned. To hear and see irrefutable proof of what I hold dear in my soul demands that I share, so here are the basics.

1. Execution—there is no way that Jesus could have lived through the torturous execution he suffered. Medical and historical documents cannot be argued away. Jesus died.

2. Early—the accounts, including the creed passed on from the Apostle Paul in Corinthians, would have been argued or declared shams. Instead they can be dated back to soon after the actual event. Studies show legends and myths take much longer than two generations to generate. Less time is involved with the reporting of the early accounts. Mr. Strobel calles this a News Flash.

3. Empty—this is one of the most convincing pieces of evidence. If somehow Jesus could have lived through the crucifixion and having his lung and possibly his heart stabbed with a spear, and if he could have gotten himself unwound from the linen cloths and seventy pounds of spices, and if he could have moved the stone that blocked the entrance to the tomb, He would have held far more scars than just the ones on his wrists and feet--the only ones attested to in any account. So, he really did die, but the tomb was empty—historical evidence other that the Bible backs that up. The Jewish leadership and the Roman government didn’t want Jesus to be alive. If he was dead, all they had to do was produce the body. For Roman soldiers to admit they fell asleep on the job? They would have been put to death for that. And to be tricked by a bunch of itinerant fishermen? Oh, please! The tomb was empty.

4. Eyewitnesses—over five hundred people personally saw and interacted with the risen Jesus. FIVE HUNDRED EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS! If you produce less than one-fifth that many in any court of law, you will get the verdict you want.

5. Emergence—the birth of the Christian Church is based on the sermon Peter gave at Pentecost. Three thousand people heard him cite information they knew to be true—"Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed though Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—" That is verse 22 of Acts 2. Peter is telling them things they knew—they knew Jesus did miracles and had walked among them. The also knew He’d been crucified. And after seeing and hearing the apostles in their own language, they could not refute it—3000 people could not refute and asked what to do, begged to be told what to do. Three thousand people gave their hearts and lives over to the Lord. Mr. Stobel also pointed out that people of all creeds will die for their faith. The difference was, the apostles knew the truth. If they had been making up the story, each would have died a martyr's death for a lie they knew to be a lie. To die for what you hope is true is one thing, but to die for what you know is not true of your own accord when you can easily say “hey, I was just telling a good story to make a point” and live just wouldn’t happen. And it didn’t happen.

So as you go through this Passion Week, it isn’t just a good story that teaches a lesson. It isn’t a warm fuzzy in your heart to help you get through your grief at the loss of a loved one. It is the truth—He is the truth. It is His story in history. And I am overcome with gratitude and love for my Abba.

Abundant blessings!

2 comments:

Sabrina L. Fox said...

Jenny, you made tears come to my eyes. I remember when my mom asked me if I thought they should have made the film The Passion, I said yes and she said "Don't you find it a little graphic?" "Uh, well yeah, it was pretty graphic. It's not meant to be the feel good movie of the year, Ma!"

I told her I thought is was like a pilgrimage for the Christian. To see what our Saviour did for us...it's too hard to fathom. Let alone to see it. May we all remember the sacrifice He made this year!

Have a blessed Easter, Jenny!

Phyllis Burris said...

Jenny -
Thanks for sharing this. I found it truthful, insightful -
I sent a copy of it to Tiffany. Don't know if she ever saw The Passion or even celebrated Easter in any way except maybe working. I have faith that someday it will all "occur" to her as it was taught to her and as she "experienced" it in some sort of way early on.
Love,
Phyllis