The “Easter Egg-Head” is the person who thinks Easter is just about Easter eggs! For this person the climactic events of the most Extraordinary Life in history simply have the social convenience of laying on a long weekend. Actually it is incredible how the staggering significance of Jesus has been lost midst the commercialising and socialising which now surrounds the great Christian festivals. In South Africa we now even have rumblings from the government about removing Christian festivals like Easter and Christmas from the country’s calendar!
I once looked over an array of Easter greeting cards. Not one mentioned Christ or the Resurrection. The least Miltonian of all said:
“The nicest kind of Easter
That’s the kind I’m wishing you,
For you’re the kind of person
Nice things should happen to.”
Now if you’re horrified over the position the preposition is placed at, I hope too that you feel that this is the type of theology with which you will not put up!
The fact is that the crowning climax to Easter – namely the Resurrection – is either the Supreme Fact of history, or the most gigantic and cunning hoax ever perpetrated. You must decide which it is.
Incidentally, if you struggle to accept the historicity of the Event, I commend for your reading a paperback entitled: Who Moved the Stone? It is by London lawyer, Frank Morrison, who set out to demolish the Resurrection. The more he explored the evidence the more persuaded he became that the Resurrection of Jesus was an incontrovertible historical fact.
Thomas Arnold, former professor of history at Oxford once wrote: “I have been used for many years to study the history of other times or to examine and weigh evidence of those who have written about them: and I know of no fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fairer enquirer, than the great sign which God has given us that Christ died and rose again.”
Another lovely and revolutionary conclusion I want to share with you is that reached by a former Lord Chief Justice of England, by the name of Lord Darling. Once at a private dinner party the talk turned to the truth or otherwise of Christianity and particularly to a book which had recently come out at that time about the Resurrection. Speaking quietly, with the authority of a judge, and out of the convictions of a great legal mind, he said: “We, as Christians, are asked to take a very great deal on trust; the teachings, for example, and the miracles of Jesus. If we had to take all on trust, I, for one, should be sceptical. The crux of the problem of whether Jesus was, or was not, what He proclaimed himself to be, must surely depend upon the truth or otherwise of the resurrection. On that greatest point we are not merely asked to have faith. In its favour as a living truth there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial, that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true” (quoted in Michael Green, Man Alive, IVF, pg 54).
However, what I especially want you to do today, above all if you’re planning on leaving the ranks of Easter Egg-Heads, is to read 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 and notice two sets of implications – the one set if the Resurrection did not happen, and the other set if it did.
Here’s the negative set… If Christ is not raised there is first of all no honesty to Christian witness. It is a futile and gross misrepresentation of divine Truth (v14-16). Secondly there is no forgiveness for wayward men and women. We must pay for our sins (v17). Thirdly there is no reunion with deceased loved ones (v18) and false hopes of after-life make us “of all people most to be pitied” (v 19). Finally, there is no moral imperative. We can “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die” (v32).
But, insists Paul, the Resurrection is in fact a glorious historical reality (v20) with a wonderful set of positive implications.
First, because there was resurrection for Jesus there can be resurrection (v22) and immortality for all (v42-53).
Secondly, because Jesus rose He is powerfully alive and in sovereign control of history, despite appearances (v25).
Thirdly, death is defeated. Its sting is gone and it is not to be feared (v54-57).
Finally, because the resurrection is true, those labours of life that spring out of Christian faith and conscience are not “in vain” (v58). They have ultimate value.
Through the Resurrection, then, sin is conquered, history conquered, death conquered, and meaninglessness conquered. Through the Resurrection there is victory for the vanquished, hope for the hopeless, purpose for the purposeless. And if anyone can honestly say they’re not interested in that, then I think they must have chocolate on the brain!
So, dear friend, if you have never yet surrendered your life to this Resurrected Christ, or opened the door of your heart to him, then I urge you to do it this very day and begin to live your life in the mighty joy and peace of knowing the Contemporary Risen Christ in your heart from now until the day you die and then thereafter for all eternity.