Resurrection Sunday is a High Day of the Christian Calendar. Whilst we celebrate the resurrection of Christ EVERY Sunday by gathering together to sing, pray, read the Bible and be taught, challenged and encouraged from the Bible, the rest of world sits back and wonders what all the fuss is about. This Sunday is your opportunity to show and tell.
Gentlemen, I encourage you to get your best suit and tie out and encourage the rest of your family to join us in celebrating in style. Just as you would for a wedding or formal reception or dinner at work.
For a congregation such as ours, where casual dress is the norm and we do not have legalistic dress codes, we can make an even bigger distinction about Resurrection Sunday by making a big deal out of the day and treating it like a celebration! This day is not like any other. This day is an anniversary celebration of the crux and foundation of our faith. Without this day our faith is futile, wasteful, hopeless and nothing more than empty religion.
Secular media, comedians, satirists, agnostics and most others with an anti-Christian bent will come out with stories, presentations, documentaries, ridicule and jest this time of year in particular all in a bid to ask – “Does it really matter if Jesus rose from the dead?”.
Maybe he didn’t really die, maybe he just passed out after being beaten to bloody pulp, had the flesh ripped from his back by a cat-o-nine-tails, spent 6 hours impaled to a lump wood and had someone shove a spear up under his ribs and tear open his pericardial sac. After all, that sort of experience isn’t likely to result in death is it?!
More likely, some will conject, his body was stolen and the whole event was fabricated. Never mind the complete failure of anyone to produce a corpse and prove the claims fraudulent. While you’re at it, it’s best to overlook the fact that if the disciples stole the body then you need to come up with an astoundingly good explanation for the way in which their lives were transformed from crippling fear to world wide revolutionaries.
I suppose some reasonable chronological snobbery is in order as well, because it’s likely that if a claim was made today by over 500 individuals whose integrity was considered beyond question and were freely, readily available for interview, interrogation and cross examination by any legal, political, media, sociological, psychological, or curious individuals or group they would be debunked in an instant! After all it was probably some combination of mass hysteria, hallucination or hypnosis that prompted anyone to make such a claim as this. Witnesses rarely agree – so all we would have to do is get a few of them to contradict each other and that would put an end to it all. This is something that the authorities and skeptics would never have thought of back then, after all they weren’t as smart as you and I. Were they? They had no access to education, reasoning and logic or the great philosophical teaching from Greece and Rome that we learn about in University today and upon which we base our world view! Did they?
Bottom line: He lived, He died, He IS Risen!
All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. – Colossians 1:6 (NIV)