It is irrefutable that the world changed as the result of the very public life of a man from Nazareth. He was called “Jesus” by the people of his own time. Because he lived and following his execution, the calendar changed along with the perspective and the behaviors of many people in the rest of the world since.
He left us one thing with which to wrestle – did he really conquer death? Meaning, did he really rise from the tomb on the third day?
If he didn’t, well, then the millions of people who have chosen to believe this during the previous 2,000 years are fools. Every one of those people who have dedicated their lives in the sacrificial care of the dying, those who have been murdered in His name, people that have given ridiculous amounts of money to build hospitals and homeless shelters, as well as some of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions and provided relief to the many efforts around that world in which people suffer – they are fools. To do these things and believe that we are somehow called to love others as we love ourselves as though there is some higher calling for each of us – every one of those people are fools. Other than “feeling good” about one’s self, there is no reason to do so. And, frankly, there are a multitude of ways in which I can “feel good” and most of those don’t include such a high cost.
But…what if it’s true? Could it be, that he actually rose from death?
Well, that would explain a lot of things. It would begin to make sense, all those “Christ Followers” making all those sacrifices. The idea that his body was stolen by the terrified fisherman that were his followers while overpowering the professionally trained Roman guard standing watch to ensure those in power didn’t turn out to look like fools, seems extraordinarily unlikely. That the account written a couple of decades later of a woman being the first at the tomb as a witness to the resurrection, would be a foolishly drafted myth if it was to be believed. And Jesus’ own brother, James, would even confess to believing his own brother (specifically half-brother) is the Christ-Man; who would be more skeptical than one’s own sibling? And how to explain all the witnesses to the risen Jesus when there were plenty of people to refute it during the time the letters were written – which later became “scripture”?
Hey, we all believe something. We do so with the evidence presented. Problem is, that there is no position in this argument that can be proven completely without, in the end, requiring a leap to one’s final conclusion. The other word to use for that is “faith”.
So, what will it be?
Risen or not risen? In the end, we have the ability to chose for ourselves. We’re given the choice. And with the traditional celebration of Easter happening right now, this is a great time to challenge yourself this question – “did he really rise from the grave?”