So this week I was speaking to the youth group about the resurrection of Jesus. I admit this is a subject most often dealt with around the Easter holiday, but the theme of the night was "Superhero" and I couldn't think of a more supernatural event in all of history.
I challenged the kids with a question: "What is the thing that stands out most to you about the resurrection of Jesus Christ?" On the surface that's an easy question, but having given that question some thought, I decided I would take a stab at it.
Very often in my life I have taken the stories of the Bible for granted. One Bible teacher noted something I thought was appropriate to mention here, that we shouldn't really call them Bible stories, because that carries with it the idea that it is fictional. Instead, he prefers to call them accounts. Semantics? Maybe. But I get his point. Especially in regard to this story... I mean account.
Because the thing that stands out most to me about the narrative of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is that it's true. Doesn't that have to be to be the most significant point? Because if it was just a fictional story, all of Christianity would be a farce. But like every other verifiable historical account, the evidence for the truth of the story is overwhelming. I think if no one ever found the body of Christ, that wouldn't be enough proof for me to believe that the story is true. But when a reliable historical account like the gospels announces that Jesus appeared to all kinds of people after he rose from the dead, and that information was verified by non-Christian sources, it becomes extremely believable. What is also ironic to me is that for all those who would have liked to disprove the claims asserted in the gospel accounts it would have been easy for them to simply have produced the body of Christ. That didn't happen. And even today people search for evidence that Jesus didn't rise from the dead. There have been news stories where archaeologists have allegedly found the tomb of Jesus. But it's turned out to be bogus. Of course.
What's so impressive about this whole narrative is the lasting impact! It's a feat of supernatural strength that will last forever. And those of us who have been transformed by the power of a living God know that as we watch the world grow worse by the day, we have a hope that is completely unique - that we will live forever, completely free from the very power of death that Christ conquered 2000 years ago. We aren't reincarnated into cows, or beetles. We don't transcend to various states of consciousness. We, along with the rest of creation, are restored and reset to the way that we were designed to be. Forever. That's heaven, and that is the most impressive part of this narrative - that death no longer has any power over us. Amazing.