Could it be true? He is risen? Who moved the stone? Evil has been overcome? Death has lost its sting? Creation is restored? The Messianic promise has been fulfilled?
Fairy tales and nonsense. Fiction and myth. Delusion and psychological crutch.
We no longer live in a world where carpenters get resurrected – even those from Nazareth. The most seismic preternatural event in the history of mankind and the most crucial celebration in the Christian calendar has become just another day for a lie in, for gardening, for football, or maybe a barbecue and a bit of DIY. Not even the reconciling fellowship of Christ and the coming of his eschatological kingdom can beat munching choccy eggs through five hours of Ben-Hur. And if you don’t fancy that, E.T.’s bound to be on. Or Oliver! Or maybe Muppet Mania.
God is dead. It is time to grow up, become enlightened, take responsibility and put aside childish fantasies and superstition. And if God isn’t quite dead, he is but one in the state’s official pantheon; no more than merely equal to the false prophets and idolatrous gods of the non-believer.
Telling the truth is a task entrusted to Christ’s disciples. We have been told the truth about Jesus, and so we must tell the truth to the world. Adam chose sin and died. Christ was raised from the dead, and so all are made alive: ‘we believe that Jesus died and rose again.’ Forget your ecclesial quibbles and petty doctrinal squabbles – God raised Jesus from the dead. Christians all believe that, or they are not Christian. But we need to live it. Everything else is utterly, utterly puny and petty. The Resurrection is power: ‘For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance..’ A single breath redeemed the whole of humanity. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Just think about that. We can know the Creator here and now, for His promise is fulfilled. The Resurrection is God’s righteousness: ‘Behold I make all things new.’
Today is the day to remember and proclaim that Jesus is not merely equal to Moses, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha or Guru Nanak. Christus Victor: the Resurrection of Christ split history in two; it divided BC from AD. All the other prophets are dead and in their tombs, but Jesus is alive. Hallelujah!
Let the whole earth resound with the joy of that event 2,000 years ago. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! Just as God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and brought them to the Promised Land, so He delivered mankind from sin and death that we might have eternal life. The blood of the first Passover which spared Israel’s firstborn foreshadows the second Passover and the Lamb who died that we might be born again. This is cosmic stuff – literally, the cosmos will be reborn.
To have mourned at the Cross, despaired at the death, wept at the graveside, and then to have met the Risen Christ must have been an inexpressible joy. The Church needs to speak more of this joy. And not just speak, but radiate. Yes, the Church needs to walk in the resurrection power of Christ, such that the world may wonder and marvel at the peace, love and light in our eyes. It is liberation, salvation and hope. Who prefers division and isolation over communion and communication? Who on earth would choose death and disintegration over the life-giving Spirit?
Jesus is alive! Joy to the world! He is risen! Hallelujah!