Days before the body of Jesus went missing from the tomb, Pontius Pilate, a Roman bureaucrat stuck between a rock and a hard place, looked at Jesus standing before him and asked: ”What is truth”.
No answer to the question is recorded, because Jesus probably didn’t give one. He must have thought His life and imminent death were answers enough.
Not that many understood it at the time. Even his disciples were confused. Why did He have to die? Why didn’t he conquer the Romans and establish His kingdom on Earth? Why didn’t He just come to the planet and say, “I love you and if you want, I’ll forgive you and you can live with Me in Heaven when you die.”
It was never going to be that easy. The grace we live in didn’t come cheap.
Jesus claimed without ambiguity that He was the Son of Man. It sounded like blasphemy.
He deliberately set Himself on a collision course with the authorities. He knew it had to end in His execution. He told his disciples that it was the only way.
In the end, he said, he understood his own impending death as a ransom for many. That statement alone made him either crazy or divine. The crowds loved Him. He healed them, taught them . . . loved them. And then he died.
Jesus’ message was simple – the world was in chaos and someone had to pay.
The life and death of Jesus are historical facts. The resurrection is, even to believers, somewhat a matter of faith.
If you’re sure there’s no God and that the laws of the nature are the only things operating in the universe then it is absurd to believe Jesus could have risen from the dead.
The gospel accounts of the resurrection are not particularly poetic. Just the bald statement proclaimed as fact that Jesus had risen.
After the resurrection, we are assured, Jesus’ tomb was empty and he was seen around Jerusalem, sometimes by up to 500 people at a time. People could touch him, he ate food with them, he was not a ghost.
Strangely, after he rose from the dead, Jesus was seen by some, but not by others on the same streets; understood by some, but not by others. Some understood his triumph over death and it changed their lives, others were indifferent to him.
The possibility that the resurrection actually occurred still shakes the world to its foundations.
This week, millions of people will pack churches, stadiums and homes to claim that something that happened 2000-plus years ago has caused them to be resurrected in their lives, resurrected in their marriages, resurrected in their homes, and resurrected in their communities.