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John 20: 1-10
“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene *came early to the tomb, while it *was still dark, and *saw the stone already taken away from the tomb. So she *ran and *came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and *said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he *saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in. And so Simon Peter also *came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he *saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. So the disciples went away again to their own homes.”
The story of the Resurrection is absolutely breath-taking! This is the central tenet of belief for Christians around the world. It has been mocked, derided and denied by skeptics and unbelievers since that first day of God’s New Covenant, but the evidence of this remarkable supernatural event is overwhelming. Jesus was seen by hundreds before His ascension into Heaven, many who were still alive when Paul began writing his epistles to early churches. When I have doubted, all I have to do (beyond having faith) is to look at the behavior of the disciples and other followers in the final chapters of Luke and John and in the early church documented in Acts. The eleven who were hiding out in fear on the Sabbath suddenly became bold and fearless. All of them would die horrible deaths for their beliefs (except for John, and he was tortured and exiled); people don’t willing go to their deaths for a myth. Many early church followers would be persecuted by the Jewish leaders and by the Romans, but the Gospel continued to spread. One of the top persecutors was turned into the greatest evangelist in Christianity by a life-changing encounter with Jesus; this persecutor, Saul (who became Paul) might have even witnessed the crucifixion. Jews and Gentiles in many places across the Mediterranean and Middle East become Christians and less than 400 years after the Resurrection, the first Christian Roman Emperor Constantine I begins his rule. Our world was radically changed on that day. Even now, with Christianity apparently on the decline in the West (due to an unending stream of denial and mocking thrown at us), millions are converted every day in Africa and Asia. The story is real and is awe-inspiring!
C.S. Lewis said it best in his timeless classic Mere Christianity:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
HALLELUJAH!!! Jesus Christ is risen today!