Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jesus' Resurrection: A Strange Proof

Showing off my 12 year old drawing skillz.
When you begin reading the accounts of the first Easter morning, and begin trying to consider what Christians say changed the entire future of humanity, you run across an almost disheartening fact.

Jesus treats it so casually.

Publicly humiliated, the beaten nearly to death and then hung on a cross until his heart gave out--physically and spiritually--you would think he'd like a bit more fanfare. Like "HEY, HEY - WHO'S YOUR DADDY NOW?!! Hey, where's that Pontius Pilate guy - I'd like to have a word with him! Oh - and Caiaphas too! In fact,  bring me the entire Sanhedrin!"

My former pastor, Rev. Sandy Willson of Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis pointed this out to us about 18 years ago. He said that would be our human response--to go after our enemies.

Not Jesus. He went after His friends. He did so with a gentleness and wit that was, in my imagination, perhaps a more effective proof of His divine nature and that he had indeed conquered death.

Here are just some of the points I wish to share today.

1) Jesus was dead for just about 40 hours. I think He did not want everyone to grieve too much. He was dead just long enough to fulfill scripture. Even though Mary rose up so early it was still dark, she did not get a chance to see His dead body. He got up before her.

2) Contrary to popular imagination and some paintings, the angel did not roll away the stone to let Him out. Jesus was already gone. The angel rolled away the stone because God sent an angel to show grief-stricken women their beloved Savior was risen.

3) Likewise, Jesus was sweet enough to not SCARE Mary. He politely asked her what was she looking for? Then He said [effectively], "Hey, honey![Mary!]" [She recognized the way He spoke her name, clearly.]

4) Jesus also kept it very low key and light when dealing with His disciples: he walked with some, just chatting, correcting them on scripture, had dinner, made breakfast after helping them get all the fish they could deal with, etc. Each time He downplays the supernatural, BECAUSE it is obvious and terrifying. There is a reason He says "Peace be with you!" and it ain't because He's Lutheran. ;)

The point I am making is nothing proves to me better than these insignificant social details, that we have been given accurate accounts of His resurrection.

Because of Jesus' casual, confident, loving, playful, well-that's-over-with attitude, my faith has been revived.

He's so Boss and so much the Man Who Can Handle Your Mess, that He's probably grinning the entire time!

And why shouldn't He, this day? He's won.

The universe. Death. Life, Heaven. Hell. You. Me.

You ever think of a resurrected god saying "Got something to eat?"

His casualness is a strange proof, I admit. But as I get older, it almost lends more credibility than factual apologetics.

May you see His crazy, smiling love for you this Easter.


p.s. In a reversal of style, I put here a geek example of what I am expressing.

Brandon Lee in The Crow, rises from the dead to avenge the murder of his fiance' and himself. But when friendly and sympathetic cop Officer Albrecht is visited by Eric Draven, Eric hands him a beer and joins him with a cigarette.

Jesus asked for some fish from his friends, but said nothing to his opponents after His resurrection. You can figure out what that means, can't you?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Holy Week - featuring Snow and the Blood Moons

Sounds like a rock group, doesn't it?

But after a LATE snowfall, on Monday, the day after Palm Sunday, we had another fascinating event.

At 1:00 a.m. CST, we had a lunar eclipse. It took an hour for the Earth's shadow to fully cover the Moon's surface and cause that signature coppery-red color, and I watched every minute of it from my open bedroom window with a small birdwatcher's scope. It was AMAZING.

There has been a lot of controversy about the fact that we are going to have three "Blood Moons" in a year's time, the next being October 8th. What controversy you say?

Well, it seems that a few high profile pastors are talking about how such "Blood Moons" are signs of this or that, using some notable events in history that correlate with their appearance as proof that "something big" is going to happen.

Yep. The sales of their books will go up.

As eager as I am too look for signs and patterns, as quickly as I accept so many things, I've got to shake my head at this. It just is too obscure and profits too many men by writing on something so topical.

But to their point, on April 3, 33 A.D. it looks like we did have a "blood moon" the evening Christ died for our sins. From Acts 2:14-24
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 “ ‘In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your young men will see visions,
your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days,
and they will prophesy.
19 I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls
on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Peter quotes an Old Testament prophecy that hinted the moon would be " blood."

With modern software, we are able to see the sky and know EXACTLY when that might have happened. we know it was Passover and during the reign of Pontius Pilate. So in that timeframe, did the moon "turn to blood?"

Yeah. It did. Read an article from Nature magazine, Dec 22, 1993: .

So kids, what does this mean?

It means that God has all the times and seasons in His hand. It means that even though we thought the death of Christ was horrible it was indeed God's plan.

It was foreordained. In the heavens.

Hard to counterfeit that. Hard to imagine that the target of the Pharisees and Sadducees was RIGHT on time and far more in control than they thought. Even Pilate was a pawn in God's Plan of Redemption.

Let that encourage you, this Easter week. God still sits on His throne. Even when it snows in Spring and the moon turns to blood, you can rest that God is doing something wonderful.

The only thing for certain is that you cannot predict what that great and wonderful thing will be.

You don't need to know, actually. God is good, and you just need to be patient.