Without Easter, Christianity a farce
The Rev. Darrell Brazell, pastor, New Hope Fellowship, 1449 Kasold Drive:
Of all the claims made by Christians, Easter — the celebration of Christ’s resurrection — is likely the most outrageous. Claiming a man was executed as a criminal, buried and then brought back to life seems ludicrous.
Yet without Easter, Christianity is a farce. I Corinthians 15:17 says, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” Jesus’ resurrection is the foundation on which everything builds because it is his victory over the power of sin and death. Therefore, if Jesus remains in the grave, we still carry the guilt of our sins and “are to be pitied more than all men” (Verse 19).
Ironically, Christianity’s outrageous claim is also a powerful evidence of its validity. After all, if the intent was to start a following, surely someone could have created a more palatable story than the resurrection of a crucified criminal. It is also significant that the early church didn’t wait until centuries later or begin proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection on another continent. No, Peter announced the resurrection a mere 50 days after Jesus’ crucifixion in the very city where he died.
While some argue against Jesus’ resurrection by discrediting the sources, I see additional proof in the lives of those who rely on his resurrection power. In our recovery ministry, I have the privilege of watching resurrection power transform marriages from death to life. I see individuals trapped in the addictive web of pornography and sexual addiction find healing, hope and freedom. I see wounded wives heal from betrayal and discover they, too, can be truly loved. I marvel as I witness Satan’s power of sin and death crumble in the light of resurrection power.
Easter is critical because everything in the faith builds upon it. It is the source of power and transformation: Without Easter, there is no Christianity.
— Send e-mail to Darrell Brazell at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resurrection central to faith
The Rev. Nate Rovenstine, pastor, Lawrence Wesleyan Church, 3705 Clinton Parkway:
Thank goodness for “Myth Busters” and snopes.com! When we hear an audacious claim, we need someone to help us separate fact from fiction.
Jesus made some audacious claims about himself. Near the end of one of many debates with religious leaders, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I AM!” The Bible says that this upset the religious leaders so much that, “they picked up stones to stone him.” These religious leaders understood that when Jesus said, “I AM,” he was identifying himself with the name that God gave himself in the Old Testament. In other words, Jesus was claiming to be God. As God, Jesus claimed that his life and death would bring humble humans into right relationship with God.
For Christians, the resurrection is the evidence that verifies these claims. Without the resurrection, Jesus comes across as crazy or deceitful. For Christians, the resurrection is essential to faith. If he can rise from the dead, his claim to divinity is justified. The resurrection also verifies the words, miracles, and teachings of Jesus.
Not everyone believes in the resurrection, but before it is dismissed as an urban legend, one should consider this: Something happened to the men and women in the upper room to turn them from defeated disciples to bold proselytizers. Christians believe it was the appearance of the risen Lord.
Christians believe that since Jesus was God, his death absorbed the punishment for our sins. It is by putting our faith in the work of Christ on the cross that we are in right relationship with God. The resurrection verifies this claim and gives us new life.
— Send e-mail to Nate Rovenstine at email@example.com.