Easter

Three Days that Changed Everything

A man named Jesus hung on a cross. Prior to that point, this man had endured the rejection of his people, arrest on false pretenses, an illegal trial in which he was falsely accused, beaten and abused, and ultimately condemned to die because of the spiritual arrogance of his accusers.

To the eyes of many, this man was a good teacher, perhaps even a prophet; certainly a healer, and a remarkable leader. But he claimed to be something more—much more. And then this—he hung on a cross to die among the lowest of criminals.

His followers abandoned him for fear of their lives. In the end it appeared he died in complete failure. There was no kingdom, no deliverance. To many it appeared he died humiliated, broken, and completely alone. He even cried out to the God he called his father: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me!?” This Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. But to him belonged the fate of crucifixion.

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From the Archives: Real Resurrection

cross(Originally posted March, 2012.)

April 5 is Easter, when Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We gather the first day of every week throughout the year for this same purpose, but Easter Sunday marks the anniversary of the event.

Or does it? “No, no,” some insist, “not the anniversary of the event, the commemoration of the experience.”

It has become something of a rite of spring for some leading voice among this or that mainline Christian denomination to assure the world that the resurrection of Jesus was not a historic event. In March 2008, for instance, the Dean of Perth at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, the Very Reverend John Shepherd, insisted that “the resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality.” He urged his hearers to understand that it is “important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body.” The physical resurrection of Jesus is not only unessential to Reverend Shepherd’s faith, it is apparently something of an encumbrance.

The fourth article in the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion—not long ago the Anglican Church’s official creed—claims that “Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature.” But not to worry, the Very Reverend John Shepherd assures us, religion is always evolving. Old, dusty documents like the Articles should not be permitted to exercise undue influence upon our enlightenment.

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From the Archives: I Will Raise It Up

(Originally posted 3/22/2011)

Many children raised in Christian homes do not understand the meaning of Resurrection Sunday. They might choose the correct answer on a multiple-choice test but would flunk an open-ended question (“Why do we celebrate Easter?”). Open-ended questions provide the best measurement of understanding.

Fortunately, some of these kids will later appreciate the meaning of the holiday. They will learn that Easter is not about bunnies, baskets and ham, but the resurrected Savior. There were no bunnies at the tomb as far as we know. The women may have carried baskets, but we know that Jesus never tasted ham.

Similarly, Jesus’ disciples understood many of His teachings only in retrospect. After the resurrection, the disciples finally understood that He had to die an atoning death and then be raised.

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Real Resurrection

cross

April 8 is Easter, when Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We gather the first day of every week throughout the year for this same purpose, but Easter Sunday marks the anniversary of the event.

Or does it? “No, no,” some insist, “not the anniversary of the event, the commemoration of the experience.”

It has become something of a rite of spring for some leading voice among this or that mainline Christian denomination to assure the world that the resurrection of Jesus was not a historic event. In March 2008, for instance, the Dean of Perth at St. George’s Anglican Cathedral, the Very Reverend John Shepherd, insisted that “the resurrection of Jesus ought not to be seen in physical terms, but as a new spiritual reality.” He urged his hearers to understand that it is “important for Christians to be set free from the idea that the resurrection was an extraordinary physical event which restored to life Jesus’ original earthly body.” The physical resurrection of Jesus is not only unessential to Reverend Shepherd’s faith, it is apparently something of an encumbrance.

The fourth article in the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion—not long ago the Anglican Church’s official creed—claims that “Christ did truly rise again from death, and took again his body, with flesh, bones, and all things appertaining to the perfection of Man’s nature.” But not to worry, the Very Reverend John Shepherd assures us, religion is always evolving. Old, dusty documents like the Articles should not be permitted to exercise undue influence upon our enlightenment.

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