Christians Are Commanded to Love!* The commemoration of the Resurrection of Christ Jesus, (Easter), is to Remind Us that this Commandment to Love has been Given by GOD!
[*Being Commanded to Love might seem Highly Contrary. We might say that it is like telling somebody: “Love me, You Dog!” …We have been Commanded to Love Only because Loving is So Difficult!]
The Case of the Empty Tomb. Image from the Internet.
What is Easter? Or the Feast of the Resurrection of Christ, as it is called Now? What is its Significance?
A Large number of Readers might already know at least something about the Resurrection of Jesus. Particularly for them I offer:
- The Most Important thing regarding the Resurrection of Jesus
This post also contains some material on:
- What is the Resurrection?
- Did it Really Happen? What are the Proofs?
1. The Most Important thing regarding the Resurrection of Jesus
Is that there Should be a Change in Our lives. Christ most probably used the word: ‘Metanoia‘ for what We are calling Change here. This ‘On-going’ Conversion should have been practised by Us All through Lent.
If We make the Memorial of Christ’s Resurrection day, Easter as it is also called, Just a Festival, then We Lose Much.
In life, We accumulate Bodily and Mental Aches, Tiredness, Tensions and myriad other things. That is Why Mankind Cleverly provided ‘Holidays’ in between, so that the Negatives Drain off! If We make Easter merely another such day, then We lose a Lot indeed.
For the Christian, the Resurrection means that Christ Conquered Death. That is Power. And that Power is offered to Us. But Not-Without-Cost!
But paying that Cost does Not make Us Paupers, but Richer. And Happy. Much must have been written about The Cost of Discipleship. But for me, the Cost is Just this:
God Cares. “God So Loved the World that He gave His Only Son for mankind.” John 3:16. Jesus Cared. He gave His Life. And Jesus Continues to Care. What is Needed of Us is that We Care.
Christ’s Resurrection is supposed to Show Us that He is God. The Christian knows what Christianity means by God – The Almighty, the All Powerful, the One Who Holds Control over Our Lives, Our Happiness, and Our Life After Death.
If We do not take care to follow His Injunction to Love and to Care, That would mean that We do not consider Him God at all! We are Not supposed to have a ‘Deathly’ fear of Him; but a ‘Healthy’ Fear is Definitely called for.
The Injunction to Love and Care are Commands.
If We are not living according to His Commands, To His Satisfaction, It means we are saying to God:
“Hey Boyo, What we hear and what we read in the Bible is all very nice. But take our Weekly/Monthly Offering, and Let us leave it at that, OK? Don’t expect anything More!”
If We go around celebrating the Resurrection of Christ Just as a Festival, of What Use is That going to be? Let’s Start Caring, my Friends, Start Caring.
To Say I Care is Not Enough. It has to Pass HIS Test. The words He uses are:
- Blessed are those who Mourn…
- Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst…
When was the Last time You Mourned? I Request You to Recall it. I am not talking about Just Feeling Sad. Mourning. For Whom? How? For How Many Days?
We are Supposed to Mourn for the Condition of the World.
It is to be Really Wondered When the Last time was when We had felt Hungry. I am talking about the Computer and Smart phone set. The Middle Class which Reads these things. The Middle Class which can do Much to Change Situations. When did You last feel Really Hungry?
God is talking about the kind of Hunger that Fills Your Mind. Are We Hungering and Thirsting for Justice, Not Just of Ourselves, but for Those who look to Us for that?
You as a Politician, Can You say You Care? Would Your Answer be accepted at the Pearly Gates?
You, as a Judge, Would You Dare to say to Him that You cared?
You, Hundreds of Officials, You who draw Your Salary from the Taxes of the People, and You who made these Same People Run from Pillar to Post, Can You say there that You Cared?
What did We think? That the One Who Rose from the Dead does Not Notice? That He is going to Take Kindly to Our Laughing at the Common Man from Our Air Conditioned houses and cars?
Thus, The Most Important thing regarding the Festival of Christ’s Resurrection is that it Reminds Us:
The One We Follow is GOD. And HE Expects that We Care.
What is the Resurrection?
It is believed that Jesus died on a Friday. Early on Sunday morning, He Rose from the Dead. This His Coming Back to Life is Known as the Resurrection. He Resurrected Himself. He Rose from the Dead by His Own Power. Resurrection is the Act by which Jesus Rose from the Dead, of His Own Power.
Resurrection is Different from
- Raising others from the dead, or
- Resurrection does Not mean Living-On for Thousands of Years.
Raising others from the dead
During His Own Lifetime, Jesus Raised Peter’s mother in law, the son of the Widow of Nain, (Luke 7:11-17), Lazarus, (John 11:1-44), and Jairus’ daughter, (Mark 5:22-24, 35-43, and parallels).
Jesus had given His Disciples the Authority and the Power to Raise the Dead back to life, ‘Bring the Dead back to Life,’ as We see in Matthew 10:8.
The Bible relates at least Two instances where His Disciples did that. Peter Raised Tabitha back to Life from Death, (Acts 9:36-42), and Paul does the same to Eutychus (Acts 20:9-12). In Both these instances, these Disciples brought these Dead back to Life Not of Their Own Power, but what was given to them by the Lord Jesus.
The dictionary correctly gives this as: ‘Revive from Unconsciousness or Apparent death.’ We will find plenty of these in Fables. Perhaps the Best Example is that of Snow White!
Did it Really Happen? What are the Proofs?
Yes, it Did happen. Christ Jesus Did Rise from the Dead. The Resurrection Happened.
This is the Basis of Christian Belief, and Mine.
As for Proofs, Two could be brought forward:
- The Witness of Jesus’ Disciples, and
- The Empty Tomb.
The words, ‘The Witness of Jesus’ Disciples,’ goes Much Deeper than their Words. There is Much of that. The Disciples who Witnessed Jesus after His Resurrection, and Experienced Him, shared about this with Others, who Found them Convincing.
All these Disciples were So Convinced, and So Profoundly Influenced, that They Lay Down Their Lives in Assenting the Resurrection.
It Could be said that there have been, and still are myriad brain-washed people who lay down their lives for what they have been told. Like the ISIS.
Above: My favourite image of the Empty Tomb. From the Internet.
The Empty Tomb as a Proof of Christ’s Resurrection might seem weak. But We have to Consider these things:
I have shown in my post – What is Good Friday, that Regular Court Historians have recorded the Crucifixion of Jesus. The Jews wanted to crucify Him. But they did not have the Authority to Pass the Death sentence on anyone! That was why they had to go to Pilate, Rome’s governor of the province of Judea (Israel) at that time.
Christ’s Crucifixion had been Carried our by the Roman Empire! And Christ’s Tomb was guarded by Soldiers of the Roman Empire! They had even put a Seal on it. (Matthew 27:62-66).
The Chief Priests and the Elders of the Jewish society were the ones who had been in the forefront in demanding Christ’s crucifixion. They were the ones who were in-charge of the Guard detail and the ‘Sealing’ of the Tomb. When the Soldiers reported to them that the Heavy stone was rolled away and that Christ’s body was Not there, the Jewish Authorities Naturally did not want this news spread. That would have created much Faith in Jesus. So, giving them a large amount of money, they told the soldiers to say that the Body had been stolen while they had been asleep. (Matthew 28:11-15).
But Roman Soldiers were Conquerors. Not Rabble. Anything and Everything was done systematically. There Must have been rotating guard details. After all the time span covers at least 36 Hours, (Friday 3 PM to about 5 AM on Sunday). That would have meant Rotations, and In-Charges.
That was also the Time when the In-Charge was Responsible for the Prisoner to Such an Extent, that, If the Prisoner escaped, the In-Charge had to take the Same Punishment. (See Acts 16:26-29). Shall We say they were not the Run of the Mill Police Force of Today?
All this was Why the Empty Tomb became such a Convincing Proof for the Resurrection of Jesus for Many indeed.
Today, We are Invited to Believe. We Can Choose to Believe. The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ after His Death on the Cross is a Life-Changing Article of Faith for All Christians. Happy Easter!