Sherlock Holmes is oft quoted to have said, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” It sounds logical, but actually some things are just hard to believe.
Take Jesus risen from the dead. How many of us would not agree with Thomas who said “unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” You see Thomas had seen dead people before. And Jesus was dead. How could he be alive again?
But what if it did happen?
Thomas was convinced when Jesus appeared to him, reached out his hands to him, and said, “Put your finger here.” And so he dropped to his knees. “My Lord and my God!” But what about us who have not seen or touched the risen Jesus?
Well, as Holmes would also say, let the evidence speak for itself.
First, the tomb was empty. If the Jews could have found the body of Jesus, then the church would never have begun. They could have silenced the preaching of Jesus’ resurrection by simply producing the body. But they couldn’t.
Second, the body wasn’t stolen. There was no reason for the Romans or the Jewish leaders to take the body – and if they had, why didn’t they produce it when people were saying they had seen Jesus alive? And the disciples? Well, here we have the matter of the Roman guards, and the fact that the disciples couldn’t believe it when the women brought them the news early that Easter morning. And then there is our third piece of evidence.
Third, why would the disciples be willing to die for something they knew to be a lie? I know people do courageous and sacrificial things, but they don’t die for what they know is not true. And the disciples well and truly put their lives on the line. History says that nearly all were eventually martyred for their faith.
Fourth, the church in Jerusalem grew really quickly. How else would you explain that in the very place where Jesus was crucified – where they had seen him discredited and killed – the followers of Jesus grew from a few dozen to thousands upon thousands in just a few weeks? They believed it was true.
If you examine the facts then Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is actually more plausible than any other explanation. That’s why we Christians make such a big deal about Easter. That’s why we celebrate.
Jesus’ resurrection means that death is not the end. We believe that just as Jesus rose to new life so, through faith in Jesus, we too will be resurrected. And since Jesus is not dead, we can meet him today. We can have a relationship with Jesus. I’m sure we all know people who can tell us what Jesus has done in their lives, and maybe you can too. Jesus changes people for good.
I hope you had a blessed Easter, and that the real blessing of Easter will continue with you for the rest of your life, even into eternal life.
Alleluia! Christ is Risen!