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The Difference One Morning Makes Posted 4.02.2015

There are two major holidays on our calendars:  Christmas and Easter.  One makes you groan.  Right?  And it’s not Easter.  There is not too much disruption in the normal routine of life at Easter. April is nothing like December.  The pressure is off this weekend and this holiday is much more relaxed and less expensive.

 

But if you think about it, Christmas (the tough holiday) has no meaning without Easter (the easy holiday).  We can sing about starry nights all we want, but without an empty tomb, it means nothing.  Nothing.  The baby without the empty tomb is devastating to our faith.

 

Billy Graham once told Time magazine, “If I were an enemy of Christianity, I would aim right at the Resurrection, because that is the heart of Christianity.” 

 

The founder of the Jesus Seminar, Dr. Robert Funk, offers a perfect example of what Billy Graham was talking about. This is how Dr. Funk explains what happened to Jesus’ body after his crucifixion: “The tales of entombment and resurrection were latter-day wishful thinking. Instead, Jesus’ corpse went the way of all abandoned criminals’ bodies: it was probably barely covered with dirt, vulnerable to the wild dogs that roamed the wasteland of the execution grounds.”

 

When Thomas Jefferson wrote his version of the life of Christ, he removed all mention of the supernatural, including the miracles of Christ, the Virgin Birth, and the Resurrection. This is how the “Jefferson Bible” ends: “Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus, and rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.” That’s it. The end. He died and they buried him. No mention of the Resurrection.

 

Even some professing Christians say it doesn’t matter. One man put this way: “Without a doubt, Jesus was raised from the dead. It does not matter at all to me if He was ‘physically’ raised from the dead.” The Apostle Paul disagreed. Strongly.  According to him, if there is no resurrection, then we are most to be pitied.  I am willing to deny myself because of the fact of Resurrection.

 

Arnold Toynbee, the eminent British historian, once said, “If the body of one Jew, Jesus of Nazareth, can be produced, then Christianity will crumble into a lifeless religion.”

 

Thanks be to God for the empty tomb. As much as I marvel at the virgin birth of Jesus, as much as I wonder at the sinless life of Jesus, as much as I glory in the cross of Jesus, it is the resurrection of Jesus that makes Christianity unique among all of the world religions. Go to the tombs of the founders of the great world religions and call the roll:  Mohammed. “Here.”  Buddha. “Here.”  Confucius. “Here.”  Moses. “Here.”  Jesus Christ.  No answer -- because He is not there. The tomb is empty. Doubt if you will, but the tomb is still empty because He is not there. He is risen, just as he said.  This holiday gives all the meaning to the other.  Without a doubt.

 

 


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