Patriot Post, Easter 2014
"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors." –George Washington
Apr. 20, 2014By Rebecca Hagelin
Without Good Friday, there would be no Easter. Without Easter, there would be no Christianity, so let us consider the story again and learn what we can from it.
On the third day after his death, a group of women went to visit the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices, as was customary in the day. But when they arrived, an angel greeted them and showed them that the tomb was empty. “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (Luke 24:5-7).
They rushed back to tell everyone what had happened, “but the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.” (Luke 24:11). The disciples were so consumed by their disappointment and hurt that they didn’t dare believe the good news. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared to them and showed them his wounds that they finally believed.
Have you ever thought about how strange it is that God raised Jesus from the dead but didn’t heal his wounds in the process? In her book, Feed My Shepherds, Flora Slosson Wuellner addresses this anomaly:
Why did Jesus still have wounds on His risen body? The traditional answer is that the wounds proved it was really he…But I believe the wounds had a deeper meaning with radically transforming implications that affect us through the ages. I believe the wounds were the sure sign that the eternal God through Jesus has never and will never ignore, negate, minimize, or transcend the significance of human woundedness. The risen Jesus is not so swallowed up in glory that he is beyond our reach, beyond our cries.
It wasn’t until after many of the disciples saw Jesus’ wounds that they finally believed. These disciples were so wounded themselves that they were blind to the glory, and closed off to the Good News that was standing in front of them. Their personal hurt weakened their faith and they couldn’t bring themselves to believe.
Jesus didn’t condemn them for their lack of faith. Instead, he showed them his wounds. He even invited Thomas to touch the nail piercings in his hands and side – to not only see, but also touch so he could believe. Jesus knew that wounded people have a hard time moving past their hurt to accept healing.
The Infinite Creator not only gave up His Godhood to become like us, He let the weight of the world crush him so he could become one of us. He identifies with our woundedness so that we can trust him. And when we trust him, he can bring us up out of the brokenness to find new life in God’s power, just like he did. His life defeats death and his wounds defeat our doubts.
Although we are all broken and hurting, I pray “that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” (Ephesians 1:19-20).
If “The Birth Of Christ And The Birth Of America is indissolubly Linked”, then so too is his death and resurrection.
“Who composed that army of fine young fellows that was then before my eyes? There were among them Roman Catholics, English Episcopalians, Scotch and American Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, Anabaptists, German Lutherans, German Calvinists, Universalists, Priestleyans, Socinians, Independents, Congregationalists, Horse Protestants and House Protestants, Deists and Atheists, and Protestants “qui ne croyent rein.” Very few, however, of several of these species; nevertheless, all educated in the general principles of Christianity. … Could my answer be understood by any candid reader or hearer, to recommend to all the others the general principles, institutions, or systems of education of the Roman Catholics? Or those of the Quakers? Or those of the Presbyterians? Or those of the Methodists? Or those of the Moravians? Or those of the Universalists? Or those of the Philosophers? No. The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. … the general principles of Christianity. … Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … I could therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles.” – John Adams, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, “Atlas of American Independence”, Second President of the United States under the Constitution, to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813
Read more about Christianity in America by seeing our two posts below. The sentiments therein are as relevant to Christmas as they are to Easter:
"I still can’t help wondering how we can explain away what to me is the greatest miracle of all and which is recorded in history. No one denies there was such a man, that he lived and that he was put to death by crucifixion. Where … is the miracle I spoke of? Well consider this and let your imagination translate the story into our own time — possibly to your own home town. A young man whose father is a carpenter grows up working in his father’s shop. One day he puts down his tools and walks out of his father’s shop. He starts preaching on street corners and in the nearby countryside, walking from place to place, preaching all the while, even though he is not an ordained minister. He never gets farther than an area perhaps 100 miles wide at the most. He does this for three years. Then he is arrested, tried and convicted. There is no court of appeal, so he is executed at age 33 along with two common thieves. Those in charge of his execution roll dice to see who gets his clothing — the only possessions he has. His family cannot afford a burial place for him so he is interred in a borrowed tomb. End of story? No, this uneducated, property-less young man has, for 2,000 years, had a greater effect on the world than all the rulers, kings, emperors; all the conquerors, generals and admirals, all the scholars, scientists and philosophers who have ever lived — all of them put together. How do we explain that — unless He really was what He said He was?" – President Ronald Reagan