July 12, 2020
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
As long as there has been people they have all kinds of beliefs it is no different today than it was 2000 years ago or 4000 years ago the only difference is the year in which we exist.
But there is a difference in “truth” and “belief” we can believe in a lot of things that are false yet still we believe and then there are things that are true and yet we don’t believe in them and that seems to be a constant in the existence of men.
So this brings us to today and the time in which we live, a time of many different beliefs, a time of turmoil, a time of mistrust and unfortunately a time of division, and I’m not just talking about a division among the races or politics I am talking about a division of morals which we see civility giving way to anarchy.
Where once there was a common desire among men for peace with the exception of the few who desired chaos, there seems to be not just the acceptance of chaos and anarchy but now we actually have certain people in power who call for chaos and anarchy who not only call for it but who get away with calling for more people to rise up and cause it.
Why is it mankind seems so set on the course of self-destruction why is it that mankind seems to find joy in destruction? And if you do not believe that man finds more joy in destruction than in construction, I propose a hypothetical experiment.
Let’s just say we give a bunch of kids a handful of rocks and set them before an old stained-glass window lets say one from an old cathedral with a beautiful mural and then we ask them which they would prefer, to lay the rocks down and admire the beauty of the glass work or to throw the rocks at the window and break the glass. Which do you think they would choose? I bet you would find a lot more willing to destroy the glass than to preserve it, and the thing is, that it’s not just one or the other, I believe that given enough kids you would surely find a few who would choose to admire the glass work but when they were done admiring it would then proceed to destroy the glass without any hesitation, never giving any thought of preserving it. I believe that this is the nature of mankind.
Now what if, after 3 days, the glass were to somehow pull itself back together and be restored to its original beauty and some of those kids that had admired it and refused to cast stones at it came back and saw it restored, and knew it was the same window because they could see the scars on the wood from the stones that had been thrown, do you think that they would go and tell the others who also hadn’t wanted to see it’s destruction that it had been restored, and don’t you think upon seeing it’s restoration they would try to tell some of the others even those who had thrown the rocks?
This is the story of Jesus Christ, a treasure like no other, a work of perfection placed in a world of imperfection who was given so that all could see the work of God in the flesh, and like the children who were placed in front of the stain glass window and given stones some chose to see the work of perfection and wished to preserve it while others only wanted to see its destruction and of course like the children in the 3rd group there were some who saw the beauty and admired it yet in the end still chose to cast the stone that would see it destroyed.
Like those who had run the experiment with the glass they knew some would choose to break the glass and others would want to see it preserved, God also knew that some would reject Jesus and others would accept him yet unlike the experiment God just didn’t want to prove what He already knew, God wanted to give mankind a way to overcome our nature and a way in which we could be reconciled to Him, so that we had hope outside of what the world offered and so that we could find salvation from evil and sin.
So goes the world today, a world of different beliefs, a world that seems set on destroying itself but even with all the beliefs in the world there is but one truth and that is the truth of Jesus Christ.
And we who know that truth must try and spread the miracle of the tomb, the truth of the resurrection, so that others may find freedom in that truth.
In the opening scripture Jesus said to the women to go and tell the brethren and in Matthew 28:19 he instructed the apostles to go and make disciples and as disciples that commandment continues with us and that is a truth as well.
But many people who are Christians still have doubts because the question remains, how do we know that our belief is the true belief how can we be sure that our truth is indeed THE truth.
Well here are some truths that we can start with, The tomb was empty, and we know this to this because the belief that the disciples of Jesus stole his body from the tomb exist in the Jewish faith today, The seal was broken, the Romans had affixed a wax seal on the ropes of the tomb and to break that seal was to break their law and to break their law was to die and everyone knew the Romans were masters of death and feared them so who would take that risk in order to perform a hoax? In addition to a Roman seal there was a Roman guard and Roman guards who fell asleep while on duty would be executed so the chances of all four of the Roman guard falling asleep is extremely unlikely even more unlikely is the possibility of them sleeping so soundly that the sound of the stone being removed wouldn’t wake them . Jesus appeared to hundreds of people. there was more than just the Apostles who claimed to see Jesus after the resurrection, over a span of 6 weeks Jesus not only appeared to people but ate with them touched them and spoke with them. And of course, many of them died for admitting that Jesus had indeed risen from the grave and who would die just to spread a lie?
Then there of course are those who say that there is no historical truth that Jesus even existed Yet there are written accounts of them outside of religious text.
Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian born in Jerusalem four years after the crucifixion of Jesus and because of this proximity to Jesus in terms of time and place, his writings have a near-eyewitness quality as they relate to the entire cultural background of the New Testament era. Two of Josephus’s greatest works are Jewish Antiquities, unveiling Hebrew history from the Creation to the start of the great war with Rome in A.D. 66, while and Jewish War, though written first, carries the record on to the destruction of Jerusalem and the fall of Masada in A.D. 73.
In Antiquities Josephus wrote “At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day.”
Josephus also wrote “Having such a character [“rash and daring” in the context], Ananus thought that with Festus dead and Albinus still on the way, he would have the proper opportunity. Convening the judges of the Sanhedrin, he brought before them the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, whose name was James, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned. But those of the city residents who were deemed the most fair-minded and who were strict in observing the law were offended at this. Accordingly, they secretly contacted the king [Herod Agrippa II], urging him to order Ananus to desist from any more such actions, for he had not been justified in what he had already done.”
There can be no denial that Jesus did exist Flavius Josephus’s writings are considered by secular scholars as being a credible historian and therefore because he mentions Jesus and James, the secular scholars have to either except this narration as truth or deem all of Josephus’ writings suspect, they can’t have it both ways.
And what about the Pilate Stone a damaged block of carved limestone with a partially intact inscription attributed to, and mentioning, Pontius Pilate, a prefect of the Roman province of Judaea from AD 26 to 36 discovered in 1961, no one could prove he existed until it was discovered yet what the bible described had once again been proven to be true.
So, what do we do with what we have claimed to believe and the truths we hold dear, do we continue in our faith and follow all that has been revealed to us and do our part is spreading the truth or do we hide the truth keeping in mind the words spoken by Christ himself “No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place or under a basket, but on a lampstand, that those who come in may see the light.” Luke 11:33
When it comes to our belief, we can rest assured that it is the truth and as such we have a decision to make, do we ignore the truth and carry on or do we share in that truth? The people of our time may be set on destroying the moral laws assigned by God, they may twist His word to fit their narrative, they may persecute those who know and speak the truth but that doesn’t change the fact that our truth is true.
There is a lot to worry about in this world, and like the children with the stones there are a lot of people lining up to toss their stones at what we call Christianity, but we should take comfort in the fact that as the people of Jesus time saw the fulfilling of the old testament prophesies coming to pass, we are seeing prophesies being fulfilled in our time. So, remain steadfast in your beliefs let any doubts slip from your mind and take comfort that as the tomb was empty so shall we see the Son of Man appearing in the clouds once more.