Why We Celebrate
By Mark A. Taylor
Note: For the last Easter editorial I will post at this site, I’ve chosen to adapt and repost one of the first Easter editorials I wrote for CHRISTIAN STANDARD. This first appeared in the April 8, 2007, issue of the magazine, and I believe its challenge to humility and faith is as appropriate today as then.
Skeptics and scholars advance arguments and theories about the death and burial of Jesus, but their musings do not shake us. On Easter Sunday again this year Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ for two reasons.
First are the logical and historical evidences:
• Confused and afraid disciples became bold proclaimers of Christ’s resurrection after they saw it was true. Their testimony never wavered, even when it cost them their lives. Even if one man might have died for a lie or a fantasy, no one can explain why so many would have done so.
• The New Testament is filled with accounts of the resurrection, including the names of witnesses still alive when the earliest New Testament documents were written. Their claim would have been easy to disprove if it were not true.
• Christ’s tomb, the subject of mystery and speculation today, was no secret to those who buried him or guarded it. The first-century claims of his disciples could easily have been disproved simply by unsealing it and producing the mangled, crucified body.
But no Roman authority or Jewish leader ever did this. “Instead,” wrote Lee Strobel, “they were forced to invent the absurd story that the disciples, despite having no motive or opportunity, had stolen the body—a theory that not even the most skeptical critic believes today.”
But all of these “proofs” and many others will be dismissed or ignored by those who do not want to believe. This is Strobel’s point in The Case for Faith. The journalist turned apologist says faith “isn’t about having perfect and complete answers” to every possible objection. “Faith is about a choice,” he writes, “a step of the will, a decision to want to know God personally.”
Those who begin by assuming the resurrection could not be true may never be convinced otherwise. But those who are willing can look at the evidence and decide it makes sense to believe. Faith does not require that we surrender our intellect, only our arrogance.
The skeptic dismisses faith because he cannot prove God true. The believer embraces faith because he cannot—and he doesn’t want to—prove God false.
God makes this promise: “Those who seek me find me” (Proverbs 8:17). “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).
We celebrate because of what we’ve found—an empty tomb—and what we’ve discarded—empty pride. Jesus really did rise from the grave. And just as he was released from the bonds of death, we have been freed from the limitations of self.