In the annals of Christendom what happened on that day is comparable to the sun rising in the west. It is worth commemorating and celebrating. It is the springtime of the human soul.
Of the event acclaimed on this day British historian, John Singleton Copley noted, “I know pretty well what evidence is, and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection has never broken down yet.”
The Supreme Court of the era appointed a brilliant young attorney from their ranks to investigate rumors of the resurrection.
His name was Paul. They provided him with authority to arrest, interrogate, and even use capital or corporal punishment to get evidence to refute the accounts.
He did more research on the resurrection than anyone of the age. He began as a prosecutor and became a defender of the faith.
The evidence he uncovered changed his mind.
In the court of Festus, with King Agrippa present, he said of the resurrection, “It was not some secret corner in which all these things happened.” No one in the prosecutor’s court disputed the claims. That would have been the moment for evidence contradicting the resurrection to have been presented. It wasn’t.
Every bough that blossoms, every seed that sprouts, each spore that germinates shouts there is a resurrection.
Such elevated thought keeps hope alive and revives the faint spirit.
Enabled and emboldened by this thought and armed with this hope people are motivated to high and honorable conduct. Betrayed often, dishonored frequently, disgraced recurrently spiritual, emotional, and psychological life has been breathed into many stifled souls by the presence of Christ on the far bank of death.
Many devotees of the resurrected Christ find in the event celebrated on Easter reason to live with hope, optimism, confidence, and enthusiasm. It frames their lifestyle. It is the warp on which life is woven.
The highly acclaimed historian, Arnold Toynbee, in his monumental work entitled, The Study of History, devotes a chapter to saviors. He groups them in four categories:
The savior with a scepter — the political savior.
The savior with a book — the philosopher savior.
The savior with a sword — the militant savior.
The man-god or god-man savior — those of Greek mythology.
After noting all of these demigods ultimately surrender to death this imminent scholar concludes:
“When the last civilization comes to the river of death, there on the other side filling the whole horizon with Himself will be the Savior.”
Celebrate in joy with hope on this special day.
(For a special Easter devotion go to www.nelsonprice.com, click on SERMON SELECT on the top right, scroll down on the left to “The Easter Effect” and click.)
The Rev. Dr. Nelson Price is pastor emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church. For copies of previous columns visit www.nelsonprice.com