April 08, 2009 "Easter trips up the mind. It staggers the imagination. It flies in the face of all our experience. It contradicts the laws of nature. It goes against the grain of the brain. Resurrection defies all we have ever seen or known.''
Because this is a column about perspectives, I've chosen to share that one observation, shared by Gordon Pols, who had spent his life as a pastor in the traditional sense of the word. Over the last two years, though, his focus has sharpened through work he's done in prison ministry. As I read some of his stuff and saw some things afresh—as someone serving time would see them—I was reawakened to the powerful message of the events surrounding the Christian observance of Easter. I'd just like to quote bits of what he said.
"Often when God makes mind-boggling new beginnings, there are no human eyes and ears present to witness the event. When God created the heavens and the earth, and when he created Adam and Eve, there were no human witnesses.
"This is also true for the new beginning marked by Jesus' miraculous resurrection. All we can do with these huge events is to believe and receive. Easter must be believed to be received. The miracle of being raised to new life is given to those who believe in Jesus. It is said that seeing is believing. Actually, believing is seeing.''
Pols continues with the following perspective:
"All who believe in their hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead will be saved (Romans 10:9). Easter is the evidence that death will not be able to hold down believers any more than it was able to hold down Jesus.''
Then, to drive home his point, Pol adds:
"But of course! That's the whole point of Easter! How else could Easter be good news for a fallen, sin-seared, grave-filled world? If Easter were not 'out of this world,' what would there be to celebrate? Hallelujah! Christ is risen!''
If you were a prisoner, (and if we think about it, aren't we all, to something or other), wouldn't you be wowed by that message? To quote Pol again, "Jesus did not come into this world to modify a few of our favorite habits.''
It's way more radical than that!
He took on our sins. He carried them to the cross. He died for them—and ROSE AGAIN—so we could experience the freedom of a new beginning in Him.