This is a copy of my second talk given on Patrick Sherring’s show ‘One 2 Three’ between 1.00 and 3.00 pm on Phoenix 98FM on Friday 7 April 2023. You can listen to the show here

A few years ago, the world’s top historians gathered together and made a list of the 100 most significant events in the history of the world for Time Magazine. There were discussing things like the discovery of America, the invention of the airplane, nuclear fusion, the first printing press etc.

Number four on the list of the most significant historical events was the life of Jesus. Now, initially, I was a bit upset that they hadn’t put him at number one, but then I realised they’d forgotten the most important part anyway.  They’d put the Life of Jesus. If Jesus had lived and then died like everybody else, that’s probably about the best you could say about Him – number four.

But what makes Jesus different is that He is not only died on a cross, as I mentioned earlier, He came back to life. And nobody else has ever done that – and that’s what makes the resurrection of Jesus to be the most significant event in the history of the world because it’s never been done. It’s a first, an original and, to date, still an absolute ‘one off.’

Jesus’ resurrection is THE focal point of the Christian faith and Easter Sunday is the story of the impossible – a dead man comes back to life. And the world, as a consequence of this empty tomb, has never been the same again. History revolves around this one, unique, amazing, event. Of course, there are  those who doubt the resurrection ever took place.

Some suggest that Jesus merely fainted. Some say the religious leaders hid the body, but why would they? Some say the disciples stole the body. Yet those disciples, were willing to be put to death themselves rather than deny the fact they had met the risen Jesus. It just doesn’t seem to add up does it? I’d be willing die for a lot of things, my family, my faith, my integrity perhaps, but I wouldn’t be willing to die for a lie. And neither would you.

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, as the Apostle Paul wrote, our faith is futile; our preaching is useless (no comments please!); we are still dead in our sins; and we, (KJV) of all people, would be most miserable!

History is littered with politicians, religious leaders, academics, researchers, lawyers, detectives, who have all attempted to establish that Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, yet their conclusions, however disagreeable to them and, sometimes to us, state that only a resurrection from the dead can adequately account for the phenomenon they were investigating. A former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Darling, said of the resurrection:

In its favour as living truth there exists such overwhelming evidence, positive and negative, factual and circumstantial that no intelligent jury in the world could fail to bring in a verdict that the resurrection story is true.

I recognise that the empty tomb may be difficult to grasp, that it may push our understanding to breaking point. But that is no reason not to believe in it, and in what it points to – a God who cares so much that he entered our world and shows us a better way to live.

The writer Philip Yancey wrote:

In many respects I find an unresurrected Jesus easier to accept. Easter makes him dangerous. Because of Easter, I have to listen to his extravagant claims and can no longer pick and choose from his sayings. Moreover, Easter means he must be loose out there somewhere.

It’s a great quote. And if he is ‘loose out there somewhere’ then we have a responsibility to look for him, don’t you think?  But it’s not a game of hide and seek! God doesn’t hide so we have to look for him in obscure places, he revealed himself to us through Jesus.

Easter Sunday is the story of the ultimate triumph over evil, as God demonstrates his victory over death, the curse of this world, and it’s the ultimate story of love and forgiveness. And the resurrection isn’t just a story that sits 2,000 years ago in history. It has meaning and hope for us today that can radically change the way we live our lives, transform the darkest of situations and heals even the most broken of hearts.

And finally, perhaps you’re asking yourself, can the very little I know about Jesus be true?  Is there a niggling doubt in your mind that Jesus could be who he said he was: the Son of God and our Saviour? Could it be time for you to start believing in a God who has the power to change lives? Might it be time for you to start taking your faith seriously.

If the answer is yes, then why not attend a church near to you this coming Sunday? Or get in touch with me and I can send you a ‘Why Jesus’ booklet. But a word of warning, not only does following Jesus set us free from the cares and worries of this world, our lives are never the same again. I mean you may even end up as the Rector in Billericay.

This is the song I chose to follow this talk …