April 5, 2016
Easter 2016 Thoughts From Pastor John Kazanjian The biggest thing about Easter is trying to explain the resurrection of Christ. Simply, no words are adequate enough to express its magnitude. No words seem to exist that can totally explain what happened on that day centuries ago when frightened disciples to the tomb of Jesus early […]
Easter 2016 Thoughts From Pastor John Kazanjian
The biggest thing about Easter is trying to explain the resurrection of Christ. Simply, no words are adequate enough to express its magnitude. No words seem to exist that can totally explain what happened on that day centuries ago when frightened disciples to the tomb of Jesus early one morning and find his body missing.
Jim Lowry, Pastor Emeritus at Idelwild Presbyterian Church in Memphis, is helped by understanding Easter by calling it: “Disputatious Testimony.”
There are four accounts in the Bible of what happened on the first Easter morning, and they are, in fact, disputatious. They tell it differently, each one, with different people responding in different ways.
In Matthew, Mary Magdalene, and the “other Mary” go to the tomb where Jesus is buried. There is an earthquake, an angel appears and rolls back the stone and sits on it.
In Mark, it is the two Marys and Salome; a young man in a white robe tells them Jesus has risen. They flee in terror and say nothing to anyone.
In Luke’s account, it is the two Marys again, and Joanna. When they tell the disciples what happened the women are dismissed – idle talk the men say. Peter alone goes to see the empty tomb for himself.
Finally, in John, the fourth Gospel, Mary Magdalene goes to the garden tomb. It is still dark. She discovers the stone has been moved. She assumes someone stole the body. She runs to tell Peter and John.
Four different accounts of one event: “Disputatious Testimony”.
Why didn’t someone in the early centuries, as the books of the New Testament were being assembled, clean it up? Why didn’t a Committee do a little editing so the story of the resurrection be coherent?
But when you think about it, any good trial lawyer or judge knows that when all the evidence presented in court is perfectly consistent, in all probability the evidence has been altered. In fact, different people describe the same event differently.
Discrepancies in the Bible are not necessarily evidence tampering but maybe the exact opposite – they are authentic records of an event experienced by different individuals who later describe it in different ways.
The only assurance we have is we know something wonderful took place. We know it because Jesus kept popping up all over after that – appearing on the road to Emmaus, by the seaside, in locked rooms. Here, there, and everywhere. There was no keeping Jesus down.
It is the same risen Christ in our lives today, popping up here and there with love and mercy and forgiveness. It is the same risen Jesus walking beside us no matter what we go through. We all can give our own testimony of how Jesus is alive in us.
So we might not have all the details of the resurrection lined up in a tidy row. For sure, the testimony has its differences, but we know in our hearts what happened – something wonderful that no words can possibly describe – Jesus rose from the dead.
We have Christ in our hearts. We have seen him work wonders for all of us, again and again.
Reverend John Kazanjian