He is Risen

A little less that two thousand years ago the Romans executed someone at the request of the local authorities. They didn’t see the person as much of a threat, but they were happy to oblige those Jews that helped keep the peace in this sleepy little backwater province of the Roman Empire. Pilate, knowing that the normal Roman practice of leaving the dead bodies to rot on the cross was objectionable to the Jews particularly on a religious holiday, allowed a man of substance to take the body. In keeping with Jewish custom, the body was buried in a new tomb in order to avoid the familial stigma associated with being executed as a criminal.

Then something incredible happened. After three days, the man that had been killed by the Romans, got back up. He somehow got out of the burial wrappings. He found the strength to roll the large stone away from the entrance to the solid rock tomb. He walked off under his own power.

I don’t think that there is any question that this person was dead. His heart had stopped beating. He had stopped breathing. It is likely that most of the blood had drained out of his body from his many wounds and a spear through the heart. Given all of that, it is also likely that if we had modern instruments, no brain waves would have been detected. Yet, he overcame those challenges without the aid of ER physicians, electric shocks to his heart, sutures, bandages, or transfusions.

He invited those who thought he was a ghost to examine his wounds to confirm that it was him. So clearly those wounds were still there including the most serious one on his side that pierced his heart. There was no mention of his walking funny like the Hollywood zombies. So he also seemed to recover from the beatings that he received. Yet he was able to move through the population without drawing attention to himself.

As far as his bodily functions, we know that he ate and drank, so we can probably assume that his digestive system also returned to some level of function. In fact he was able to walk a considerable distance during the time after his death.

How could this happen?

Were the laws of physics suspended?

I don’t know. You can pick the explanation that works for you.

Here’s what works for me.

On that day, the world changed. The most perfect man ever to walk the earth, born of a woman, learned through prayer how to overcome his own death. Not only that, but he promised that everyone who followed his teaching would be able to perform even greater works because the Christ that he embodied is reflected in all of us.  He was willing to go through all of this because it was the only way that he could prove that all that he said was true.  For that we owe him a debt of gratitude that we can only repay by following him.

I believe that we are just starting to scratch the surface of understanding the power of prayer. As we do, our sorrow will also turn to joy because the world for us will change just like it did for the apostles.

Happy Easter to all.

 

5 Responses to “He is Risen”

  1. keith says:

    Thanks Jeff,
    This is our true common ground!!!!
    Billy Graham was asked in the past few years
    what he wished he would have done diferently, His response
    was this, that he would have prayed more. I think
    we all can say the same thing. If so, our differenses
    would become less and less. Thanks for the post.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Keith,

    Thanks for the response.

    I agree. What other common ground do we need than a mutual respect for the power of prayer?

    I heard an interesting item on the radio the other day talking about Muslim versus Christian attitudes toward religion. In the west we based our concept of religious tolerance on the “nobody knows” approach which says that since no one can say for sure, then everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In the east, Muslims believe that anyone who prays to God deserves respect and tolerance since there is only one God.

    What do you think?

    Jeff

  3. keith says:

    Hey Jeff,
    I don’t know if that’s what Christians in the west base their tolerance on. For me its the versee in Mathew which says to remove the log in your own eye before trying to remove the speck of saw dust in the other guys. In addition we have been given grace, how then can we not, haveing been given it, give it to others. Also we are commanded to “bear with one another.” So I guess I would preferr to think Christians are taught to allow grace as we are instucted to do so and in our own being “set free” we allow for others who were in the same state as we before becoming an Christian.

    I don’t agree with the “no one knows part. I would guess, and only guess, that that would not be the comment of a Christian. A Christian simply wouldn’t “guess” that Jesus was the WAY, Truth and the Light.

    As for the Muslim’s tolerance I really can’t speak. I don’t know. I have observations and in the past two years have gotten to know a few muslim women but I would hate to comment based on those three womens experiance.

  4. keith says:

    ………in addition, if it were to take the 40,000 foot view i would say that mr columbus came looking to evengelize an unknown land. (true believe it or not) our contry was founded on the idea of religious freedom and a thought that the gov’t should establish no religion. that pretty much hits tolarance for and respect for many religions.

    given further thought, but having never been there myself, the religious freedom of some contries in the middle east, which happen to be muslim, forbid any other. you can go to jail. the more i think about what you heard on the radio the more interested i’m becoming in what they guy ment….

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    The program was speaking of faith on NPR. In this area it broadcasts on the UoM station Sunday mornings. I think that it was the Stephen Waldman program where this discussion occured.

    I agree with your Biblical view of tolerance. I think the comment though was based on a more western rather than biblical view of tolerance. Similarly, the eastern view is more historic than fundamentalist. During the height of the last caliphate when muslim leaders ruled all of the Middle East, they attracted and supported some of the great christian and jewish philosophers of the time to do research because of their reverence for prayer.

    Clearly fundamentalist bin Ladist Islam has twisted that view into hatred of Christianity and the west. Though we don’t see fundamentalist Christian preachers approaching the same levels of violence, there is comparable broad brush condemnation of Muslims coming from many of those pulpits too.

    We can’t allow either of these extremes to be percieved as representing the mainstream, but unfortunately for different reasons both the eastern and western cultures these days are very tolerant of their own brands of extremism.

    Jeff

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