He Is Risen!
My Dear Friend in Christ:
This Easter season on the broadcast we have been using texts from the Old Testament, and it is apparent that what we are now commemorating was totally foreseen, and should not have been a surprise. But it was! It does seem that much of the time our faith does surprised people; our mission efforts, our quick responses to all disaster of any kind, the very discipline of our faith, the sincere expressions of love, and nothing is more of a surprise than our beliefs in the events of Easter. Here as the word implies, it is the dawn of a new day, the beginning of a new and different world.
Everything that our Lord spoke about, taught, every healing, every act was the preparation for “Good Friday,” and “Easter.” It would be hard for any well-versed Jew of that time to miss what would be on everybody lips. Even a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin will confess, “We know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (Jn.3:2). And when the Baptist, deep in Herod Antipas’ dungeon begins to have “questions,” Jesus will but demonstrate the fulfillment of passages from the Prophet Isaiah; “…the blind recieve their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the good news preached to them…”(Mt.11:5; Isa.35:5-6,61:1).
That is why on “Palm Sunday,” the pilgrims arriving for the Passover, even the “whole city” of Jerusalem came out in great joy to meet the “prophet from Galilee.” One would hear praises to God, Psalms being sung, the word “Hallelujah,” and the messianic phrase “Son of David” being shouted. There was no mistaking the atmosphere, the intensity of feelings and expectation. But now Jesus will purposely confront the Jewish and Roman authorities, attacking the Temple’s legitimacy, the entrenched power brokers, which in the process will reveal their true natures. This, of course, made His crucifixion inevitable, but then that was the divine purpose all along.
The purpose, all will find, was culminated three days later at dawn, as a group of women seeking to perform a full Jewish burial rite finding the stone, they worried about, thrown aside. But for some men in dazzling raiment, what they find is an empty tomb. This empty tomb has always been a problem for skeptics, atheists, and everyone slow to believe. Once the news spread that this Jesus had appeared alive, believe me, everyone who heard would be checking out Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, you know the tomb of a rich man (Isa.53:9).
That, and everything about this event; the guard’s stupid lie of being asleep when frightened disciples stole the body, the grave clothes being coated with a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes would hold the form of a body, but with no body (Jn.20:5-8). And then He was seen alive by just too many, up to 500 (1 Cor.15:6). Over the years I’ve seen so many films, books, monograms trying so hard to find a way around the truth. But all such efforts are laughable especially when you place their reluctance against the very spread, growth, and vibrancy of the Christian movement.
It is clear that I never tire of this season. My wife did love rabbits, we raised 13, so there was always time for bunnies, but never did it challenge this phenomenal act of God. Who has once more broken into history. It is this one event that has literally changed history, changed continents, peoples, nations, and marks our calendars (even as they try to change that). It is this that will unite us! This is the “Good News,” what will again surprise our complacent, despondent, aimless, and degenerate world. For God is not done with us, our churches, our civilization. Not yet! We will once more see it all shaken to its unbelieving core by the power of His Spirit in we who are His instruments, His body.
Oh, Lord Jesus Christ, once more let your Spirit move in all your children!
Thomas Randolf Wyatt