It was a perfect, sunny spring day as a man was lounging on his backyard deck, when his cat dragged in a little “gift” in its mouth—a dead animal of some sort. Taking a closer look, he was dismayed to recognize the dead animal to be a bunny that belonged to a little girl who lived next door. Her name was Bonny. The man understandably felt terrible, believing his cat had killed little Bonny’s bunny.
However, being a quick thinker, he came up with a plan. Removing the dead animal from the cat’s mouth, which by now was a dirty mess, he put it in the kitchen sink. With a little warm water and some shampoo, he tried to clean up the dead bunny as best he could. Then he took a hair dryer (a “hare” dryer actually) and blow-dried the bunny until it looked pretty good. Finally, he took the dead bunny out to the neighbor’s rabbit hutch and placed it back in the cage. He kind of fluffed him up so that he looked as natural as possible there in his little box.
The next morning the man looked out his window toward the neighbor’s house and noticed a crowd of people gathered around the rabbit hutch. Everyone seemed to be talking and pointing. The man decided to go over and act like any normal curious neighbor and find out what was going on.
As he approached, Bonny’s mother shouted out to him, “You won’t believe what has happened! It’s a miracle! Bonny’s bunny passed away a few days ago and we buried that little bunny right over there….”
Aren’t you glad our Easter joy isn’t based on a huge misunderstanding? Aren’t you thankful that it isn’t founded on an ignorant, wishful reworking of the story apart from what happened? The preaching of the resurrection of Jesus is not based in ignorance or mere legend steeped in tradition, as some would suggest. Make no mistake, God’s victory over death and the grave through the resurrection of Jesus remains the defining moment of history and our faith…because it is true. And importantly so.
As the Apostle Paul would state it, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) Just before this he explained that those who witnessed Jesus alive after His death was not an experience limited to a small group alone (who could have made up the story). Rather, Paul reminds us that more than five hundred people were witnesses to the fact that Jesus had come back to life…most of whom, were still around to read what he was writing. It may go without saying, but it’s hard to get away with fictitious writing about other people when they are still around to read it.
Translation: It was not a fake news report! Paul was telling the truth!
Think of it: if every individual who witnessed Jesus alive after His death were given 15 minutes to testify in a court of law, there would be more than a two weeks worth of solid testimony to the fact! Adding to their credibility, these same witnesses would go on to face extreme persecution for their belief and proclamation that Jesus had risen from the dead. Many would face death because they could not deny their Savior who had conquered death…because it was true! The resurrection had become their defining moment.
I’m praying that the same would be true of you and me this Easter season. May the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection define our every moment with joyful boldness no matter what our circumstance whether at home, or the office, in the park, at school, at the mall,…even in the backyard when we have opportunity to share our defining moment with our neighbors this Spring!
In Jesus I am yours,