Here is an article I wrote for the Hendersonville Standard in their Tuesday, April 15 Edition:
This Sunday the world will celebrate our most splendid spring holiday in Easter. Like every holiday, various cultures, families and individuals will express Easter uniquely. Despite a myriad of traditions, Easter is a distinctly Christian expression. Those of us who are Christians understand that the Easter story contains our deepest held belief, which is the resurrection of Jesus. Without the Easter story, the death of Christ is just another historical occurrence of an execution. With the Easter story, everything changes.
The apostle Paul, one of the greatest voices for the Christian faith stated, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless (1 Corinthians 15:17).” So, why does the resurrection mean so much to Christians? The resurrection is the great differential in the identity of Jesus. It is reasonable to accept Jesus as a great teacher, leader or philosopher. However, to believe that he was resurrected is to believe Jesus was more than a man, but that he was also God. The followers of Jesus believed this, and spread the story of his resurrection throughout the Roman Empire. The story has been spreading ever since. Legend tells us that the original disciples held to this story to their deaths, and countless Christians since have also willingly died to uphold this story.
While there is evidence of Jesus’ existence, and a great historical case for his resurrection, this cannot be unequivocally proven. So what makes over two billion current Christians around the globe believe the resurrection? Obligation? Yes, I suppose there are many who feel obligated culturally to believe. However, belief out of obligation is no true belief in the end.
“It is love that believes the resurrection.” These words by Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) were quoted in theologian N.T. Wright’s recent book Surprised By Hope (2008). This quote summarizes why I believe the Easter story. Like you, I have been through personal challenges. Through the early death of my father, a difficult illness with my infant child and walking with people in my congregation through deep times of sorrow, I have experienced love from God. This love would not be real if there was no real resurrection. As you enjoy this Easter weekend, take time to reflect on how the claim of Jesus’ resurrection has impacted the world. Also, I encourage you to search for the love of God that has made me believe the resurrection. “It is love that believes the resurrection.”