Andy Stanley said, “From a distance, the Easter Story seems so unbelievable. But when you look at the details of the narrative closely what begins as a story that’s so unbelievable, becomes so unbelievably believable.”
When you think about Easter what comes to mind? Some of our minds immediately race to new spring outfits, Easter egg hunts, and Easter baskets dropped off by the Easter bunny (Easter Fox, Rooster, or Stork depending on where you are from) that left us digging for that last Cadbury’s chocolate egg and handful of jelly beans.
For some of us that may have grown up with some type of church background, similar to the Evangelical Church in Dubai, we may have similar memories, yet the majority of our celebration revolves around the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A story that is in many ways overwhelmingly unbelievable.
For many, the Easter story has left a taste of disbelief in our hearts. Although it’s often agreed Jesus was a prophet, a good man, a historic figure even, it’s still pretty hard to chew on the fact that he was the Son of God. Religion asks us to believe the Easter story simply because the Bible says its true. However, we as a Non denominational church in Dubai believe the Easter story because the eyewitnesses of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and the people that knew the eyewitnesses, believed and gave their lives for what they believed. Two men in particular: James, the brother of Jesus and Paul, a man who persecuted and killed Christians for a living.
Think about it. What would it take for your brother or sister to believe that you were the Son of God – God in the flesh? James had this very problem. He wasn’t a follower of Jesus. He didn’t believe his brother was God. He believed his brother Jesus was crazy! Now think about anyone you’ve ever come into contact with that absolutely hates Christians; like with all they are can’t stand them. The apostle Paul, the same Paul regarded as a Saint in the Catholic Church, hated Christians so much that he tracked them down all over the Middle Eastern region to kill them.
The Easter story is not a sugar coated fairy-tale or fable. It is a story full of shame and messy stories of liars (Peter), killers (Paul), doubters (Jesus’ disciples), pride, scandal, and the testimonies of people who saw it all with their very own eyes; yet lived to tell what they saw that made them believe. Paul confirms this in his letter to the followers of Christ in Corinth. 1 Corinthians 15:7-9 says:
“… he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have fallen asleep); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence.”
It is their belief that makes your childhood faith, your current faith, your lack of faith, your curiosity, your consideration, or your conviction of faith not exist in vain.