A recent poll by McCrindle research found only 21% of Australians surveyed are confident that Jesus was raised from the dead. Perhaps this in not surprising, as for the average Australian ‘resurrection’ is a concept of fiction rather than everyday reality. Many have come up with theories to explain Jesus’ absence from the tomb, and perhaps you can come up with your own. The Alpha course touches on some of these theories:
1) Jesus didn’t really die. Perhaps Jesus only passed out from pain and exhaustion, later regaining consciousness in the tomb and making an exit?
2) The disciples stole the body. Did they then start rumours of Jesus’ resurrection as an attempt to gain importance?
3) The authorities removed the body. Another crowded religious shrine at the site of the tomb may not have been helpful.
The fault with these (and other) theories is that they can often be explained. For example:
1) Roman soldiers, who knew when their victim was dead, crucified Jesus. A spear was sent through his side to make sure of this (Jn 19:34). Even if Jesus had survived, chances of his already beaten body escaping grave clothes, removing the heavy stone and fending off soldiers would have been a miracle in itself.
2) Jesus disciples were scared and confused, and the tomb was guarded. Most of them were eventually killed for their belief in Jesus’ resurrection. Would you knowingly die for a lie?
3) News of Jesus’ resurrection spread rapidly, and this greatly troubled the authorities. Had they removed the body they would have produced it to prove to the world that Jesus was really dead.
Let us not forget that hundreds also witnessed the resurrected Jesus (1 Cor 15:6).
The resurrection of Jesus is an story that is difficult to explain apart from that it actually took place. The God who created the Universe had stepped down from heaven, walked the earth, given His life out of love for us, and had now shown his power to defeat even death.
Take some time today to reflect on the significance of this miracle and what it means for your life beyond Easter.
Rev Matthew Carratt