I suppose there’s no better time to spread the “good” news than on Easter. For many Christians, Easter is the biggest holiday of them all and for good reason. It is celebrated as the day Jesus rose from the dead.
I know that I have some readers that don’t believe in Jesus, or God for that matter. I, personally, don’t understand how. I could see their doubting the Jesus story. They weren’t there to witness the miracles, the healings, and ultimately the rising from the dead so they call it mythology.
We witness God’s miracles every single day. From the perfect rising of the sun each morning to the trees that produce our oxygen, to the perfect temperatures that humans need to survive. I can’t wrap my arms around the idea that this planet, and all the symbiotic relationships upon and around it, wasn’t through intelligent design.
I tried to deny it was the work of a higher power; a supreme power; an omnipotent. For years I tried to force the square science ideology into the circle of life but it didn’t work.
I’m a simple person. I believe in God. I believe He sent his son to teach people how they should act.; how they should live and love. I believe the “elites” of the day [their version of the deep state swamp] killed him. He was getting a lot of attention, and a lot of people believed in him, so he became a threat to their power and they killed him.
But I also believe he rose from the dead.
I don’t believe that “just because the bible told me so.” Nope. I believe that because of the actions of the disciples and the history of Joseph of Arimathea, among other things. But let’s look at the disciples.
If you remember, when the elites were arresting Jesus, and building their death cross, the disciples tucked and ran. Even ole Peter after he came on so strong and mighty. They denied even knowing Jesus. They were scared to death that the Romans would kill them too just for being followers.
To them it might have looked like their Jesus turned out to be just another in a long line of so called “Messiah’s”; that maybe He wasn’t their true savior. After all He didn’t eject evil from the world. He didn’t take over Israel and “right all the wrongs.” He didn’t overthrow the Romans and bring peace to the world. Nope, in their eyes maybe he was just another guy, arrested by the Romans, and killed. Whatever their reasons, they were scared.
But then something miraculous happened. Those same Disciples that denied to the authorities that they even knew the guy, went on to preach around the world, even in the face of death. Do you know how they died? (And probably where their newfound courage came from.)
How they died:
Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome about 66 AD, during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded. Peter was crucified, upside down at his request, since he did not feel he was worthy to die in the same manner as his Lord.
Andrew went to the “land of the man-eaters,” in what is now the Soviet Union. Christians there claim him as the first to bring the gospel to their land. He also preached in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, and in Greece, where he is said to have been crucified.
Thomas was probably most active in the area east of Syria. Tradition has him preaching as far east as India, where the ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder. They claim that he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers.
Philip possibly had a powerful ministry in Carthage in North Africa and then in Asia Minor, where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul had Philip arrested and cruelly put to death.
Matthew, the tax collector and writer of a Gospel ministered in Persia and Ethiopia. Some of the oldest reports say he was not martyred, while others say he was stabbed to death in Ethiopia.
Bartholomew had widespread missionary travels attributed to him by tradition: to India with Thomas, back to Armenia, and also to Ethiopia and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the gospel, but most center on him being whipped and ultimately crucified.
James ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death.
Simon the Zealot, so the story goes, ministered in Persia and was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god.
Matthais, the apostle chosen to replace Judas. Tradition sends him to Syria with Andrew and to death by burning.
John, the only one of the apostles generally thought to have died a natural death from old age. He was the leader of the church in the Ephesus area and is said to have taken care of Mary the mother of Jesus in his home. During Domitian’s persecution in the middle ’90s, he was exiled to the island of Patmos. There he is credited with writing the last book of the New Testament–the Revelation. An early Latin tradition has him escaping unhurt after being cast into boiling oil at Rome.
So, what happened to change these common men from being afraid to tell the authorities that they even knew who Jesus was, to being bold enough to be stoned, crucified, beheaded, boiled in oil, speared and for preaching his message??? What happened?
Well, they saw him rise from the dead. On the day Christ was killed they probably figured they’d been hoodwinked. Maybe they thought Surely if this guy was some son of God, God wouldn’t have allowed him to be nailed to a cross and stabbed in the side. They were surely saddened; maybe they felt swindled and confused?
It could be that despite seeing so many miracles during their time with him, they just couldn’t accept the idea that if he was God’s son, that he could be hung on a cross, humiliated, spit on, stabbed and ultimately killed like some common thief.
But when they saw Him AFTER he was dead, they became a new person. They didn’t fear the punishment; the stoning’s, or even crucifixion. I believe the only reason for such a remarkable turn around is that they saw him get killed, and then return from the dead.
That is among the many reasons I believe the resurrection story.
Can you imagine going willingly to your own crucifixion still preaching Jesus, if all you had to do to escape that was deny him. No, I believe they saw something so profound, so life changing that it didn’t matter what happened, they knew where they were going when they died.
Yes, I believe. But I can only hope and pray for that kind of courage for we never know I true convictions and fortitude until we are tried.
*My personal theory is that the crucifixion occurred 14 days after the Spring equinox, on the true Passover making Jesus Christ our sacrificial lamb. And that Easter was adopted (and profaned) from the pagan festivals of Ishtar. Nonetheless I hope hearts are pure when Christians celebrate.
**The research and many words in this post is attributed to Bob Rinear’s efforts.