Easter morning The dawn comes at last

Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?

--Luke 24

Those claiming to be the Messiah were many. It was a tradition. They'd claim to be the chosen one, they'd be arrested and tried, then crucified, their followers crushed. One would-be messiah called himself Moses after the ancient prophet and claimed he could part the sea, again, and return his people from Roman rule to the Promised Land. After some drownings, he disappeared from history.

So after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, the disciples scattered. The women mourned. The men hid. After all, didn't their Messiah turn into just another fake? What would be their fate? The same as His?

Just a few days earlier, they had all eaten together. And talked: "Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." The story played out just like that.

So while the disciples had reason to fear, a few had reason to be shamed. Peter had promised to march to his death for his Messiah. And instead denied even knowing Him. But could anybody blame him? He had been promised! The man who said the kingdom of God had come through Him was dead! He was supposed to be the Messiah, and now, like the others, He had proven just tissue and bone and nothing at all special.

So the disciples practiced social distancing. They secreted away and cowered. They avoided crowds, lest they be spotted. They were unemployed. Futures iffy. When the women went to retrieve His body, not a man went with them.

Then something happened.

It happened at dawn. As if only the Light could make it happen. Of all those who'd come up with reasons and excuses why The Story can't possibly be, one thing remains the same, without doubt: A group of cowardly outlaws, running for their lives, following behind the action, denying even knowing their leader, at some point stood up to the greatest empire of the age, and shouted their Good News to the heavens.

Not just one of them. All of them.

The one who betrayed their Messiah for silver was replaced. They began preaching. And fishing of men. And gathering followers of their own until the Message spread across the globe. Changing lives at every turn.

Even though they knew the penalty, the disciples talked. Preached. Wrote. Sang. Even when they were jailed. Even as they were led to execution.

For one person to act this way could be explained away. People go nuts. But for a dozen men of the time to take up the matter, and die for the cause ... Why die for a dead man?


Unless they experienced something -- and hallucinations/misunderstandings/mental problems don't explain it. Neither can the life-changing miracles that have happened over the last 2,000 years be explained. Somebody once said that he had no doubt that Jesus turned water into wine; at his house Jesus had turned beer into furniture.

As modern preacher James Allan Francis once noted: "Nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today He is the central figure for much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched and all the navies that ever sailed and all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as this one solitary life." This morning, churches will be full of song. And need to be. For there is Light again. And spring and warmth and life. It's enough to turn outlaws into preachers.

This editorial was originally published on April 17, 2022.

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