Sorting through the facts.
Have you ever felt like someone was watching you? It seems everywhere we go there is the all seeing security camera. I have been strongly considering getting some for here around the house. We live in a day and age that requires evidence to identify robbers, vandals, or an automobile accident. Dashcams record fun (bizarre) things while out on the road. Body cams are a hot topic for law enforcement too.
The day after Easter is always one of reflection for me. Scriptures replay for me all the encounters the risen Jesus had with his disciples and many others. How I long to be in the middle of these dialogues. God offers us a narrative of all these events right after the Resurrection and we are allowed a glimpse into many holy moments. It is much like reviewing video footage of historic events in order to join together all the pieces of truth. Imagine we are grieving disciples cowering in a locked room in fear of persecution and immediately Jesus appears inside the room much to our shock.
"While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” (Luke 24:36-41, NIV)
Let's walk together through this wonderment in Luke 24. We have just seen Jesus right in front of us and the amazement of a dead person walking, talking, and asking for food clutters our senses to a point of disbelief. Or....
In the aftermath of Jesus death and 'supposed' resurrection, many of the disciples return to their former vocation. They go fishing and fail miserably. The one thing they were good at has left them frustrated and maybe even a bit frazzled. Then a stranger who probably doesn't know one end of a fishnet from another gives seasoned fishermen advice! Humph!!
"Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water." (John 21:4-7, NIV)
The 'supposed' resurrection gains more validity since now Jesus has stood before the disciples on a couple of occasions. His presence on the seashore defines the human desire to move on with life versus Jesus desiring humans to embrace the stark reality of life over death and an entombed body over one offering fishing suggestions. And then there is this.....
Two people facing an event will often produce two differing accounts of what actually happened. Those who wanted Jesus crucified are faced with a problem. The report of Jesus' resurrection from the dead needs an explanation. Where did the body go? Who took it? How can we spin this resurrection story to meet our narrative and keep us on top of the situation and in control?
"When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’" (Matthew 28:12-13, NIV)
It would have been quite satisfying to have had those security cameras at the tomb. We could either identify the disciples who rolled the stone away and stole the corpse of Jesus while the guards slept or witness the supernatural event of the Resurrection. Never mind those derelict soldiers falling asleep and having the knowledge of who stole the body even while they slept. Roll that story around in your head for a moment. Sounds like some of the stories I used to employ as a child when trying to explain stuff to my mom. She would sort through the facts and then through my story to get to the truth. Oops!
Today, the truth remains that Jesus is risen from the dead, was seen by hundreds of people and that thousands (millions) of followers would go to their deaths because of a 'supposed' resurrection. Sort that fact.