Good Friday was about death. And we all face it.
But today isn’t.
(If you missed Friday’s post, start here. It’s important.)
Because today… today is Easter Sunday!
There are people all around the world that believe on this day, Easter Sunday, the world changed.
They believe that death was defeated.
They believe that Jesus rose from the dead with our freedom from death in hand.
I’m one of those people.
You might not be. And I can understand that.
Here’s why I think Easter still matters even when we don’t believe.
You and I have never known a world without Easter or a world without Jesus.
Therefore, you and I actually don’t really know what the world was like before Jesus died.
Or before witnesses saw him rise from the dead.
Or before a gathering of believers fuelled by faith and love for one another turned the world’s super-power – the Roman Empire – on it’s head.
From this day forward, the world was different.
Whatever what we believe or don’t believe about it, Easter still affects our lives today. The life and death and resurrection of Jesus still shapes the world we live in, in all the best ways.
So – what exactly happened on Easter Sunday that made the world so different? Jesus came back to life.
Sure, there were many witnesses of Jesus coming back to life. But maybe you feel like those witnesses in the Bible can’t be trusted, or that it’s all just a myth.
Check this out: amazingly, the historical records of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection hold up incredibly well when challenged and compared to other ancient historical texts we regard as trustworthy. (Want your mind blown? Compare how reliable the New Testament is to Aristotle.)
One of my favourite teachers often says;
If a guy can predict his own death and resurrection, and pull it off, I go with whatever that guy says. – Andy Stanley
It’s kind of cheeky. And yep. I bet if we saw a guy tell us he was about to die, then see him die, then stand in front of us a few days later… we’d probably believe what he says!
Except we didn’t.
You and I are living 2000 years after these events took place. Good for the witnesses that were there and apparently saw this, but we didn’t. What do we do with that? How are we supposed to believe any of it? And what difference does it make for me, anyway?
Wherever you’re at with faith, think about this…
What if Easter isn’t just historically accurate or true, but personal?
That’s a big leap. But what if…
What if Jesus really did die and rise again for me?
What if Jesus really can free me from death?
What does it even mean that death is “defeated”?
Why would my faults even need that kind of forgiving?
Your questions are good. Your doubts are welcome – don’t shelve them. Ask them.
The mystery and power and majesty and good news Jesus brings is worth exploring.
I love this story of someone who knew Jesus but didn’t believe he had come back to life.
It is written that Jesus appeared to a group of disciples on the Sunday after he was crucified. One of the disciples wasn’t there, and when he was told what had happened, he didn’t believe it was true.
His name was Thomas. It earned him the nickname ‘doubting Thomas.’
I think we’re all way more like Thomas than anyone else in the story. Because none of us where there when Jesus first appeared after he died!
And we can all relate doubt…
I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side. – John 20:25
And amazingly enough, Jesus showed up again 8 days later. This time Thomas was there. Jesus looked right at him and said,
Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe! – John 20:27
And you know what? Thomas did.
But that’s not my favourite part. My favourite part is still coming…
Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” – John 20: 29
Blessed. Fortunate. Well-off.* We are those.
Yes – I have seen Jesus active in very real, transformative and life-changing ways.
Jesus didn’t just change the world – he personally changed my life. In all the best ways.
But… I haven’t seen his hands or touched the wound in his side.
Maybe you think like Thomas. How can you believe without seeing?
Maybe you believe but have questions. Lean into them, voice them. Don’t hide or be ashamed of your questions. God isn’t afraid of them and He loves you.
Maybe you don’t believe because you feel like how can you? This is such a strange fantasy land these Christian people live in.
But friends… let’s go back to the beginning.
Good Friday was about Death. So normal. So strange. So unwelcome.
And we all face it.
But were not made for death.
We were made for life.
And Easter… Easter is about Life.
May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. – Ephesians 3:19
Don’t you owe it to yourself to at least explore?
Resources to keep exploring
Watch Easter Sunday’s service at Connexus Church
Wonder why anyone could actually trust the Bible for these accounts?
Here’s one of my favourite researchers: Lee Strobel.
Lee was an atheist and through journalistic research and study he came to see everything differently. He has created some awesome resources for intelligent people with important questions about scriptural integrity and faith.
Like Jesus, but skeptical about organized faith?
Check out Brand: New. It’s a new favourite about the mission and purpose of the church.
Andy Stanley exposes how the church veered off course and explores what Jesus really intended.