On Sunday morning, April 4, 2021, the Rev. Raphael Warnock stood in front of his congregation and delivered an Easter sermon like he’d done for the past decade-and-a-half. His message…
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When people talk about the validity of Jesus’ resurrection, it’s inevitable that someone asks, “What are the chances?” It’s a fair question. After all, most of us know plenty of people who died…and stayed dead.
But is chance a good basis for belief?
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Easter always stirs conversations about the credibility of the resurrection. Some believe the Bible’s version is trustworthy, while others give no credence to Scripture’s testimony whatsoever. In an attempt to bring balance to the discussion, one group offers a middle-ground theory they hope will work for everyone.
Here’s why it won’t.
In August of 480 BC, a few hundred Spartans led by King Leonidas battled against 150,000 Persian warriors led by King Xerxes. The heavily outnumbered Greeks held their ground, repelled the invaders, and controlled the battle for three days.
But there was one thing King Leonidas couldn’t control…and it would prove fatal.
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It’s the phone call no parent wants to receive. Ever. But on Thursday, February 28, 1991, Cecil and Ruth were both informed that their son, PFC. Clayton Carpenter, was killed in action in the Persian Gulf War. In an instant, their lives were changed.
Until the phone rang again.
Snakes can lead to really big problems, which is why they’re best handled by experts. When ridding themselves of the slithering nuisances, do-it-yourselfers face the risk of getting bit, getting hurt, or even getting killed.
Or, like one woman in Texas, they can even cause you to burn down your house.
Suleiman the Magnificent was the longest-ruling leader in the Ottoman Empire. The mighty sultan led successful military conquests on multiple continents and the legal system he set in place transformed the lives of millions for several centuries. But like all men, both great and small, he eventually died.
But through an elaborate hoax, his dead body was kept on the throne!
On Sunday, October 31, 1926, at precisely 1:26pm, a man named Ehrich Weiss died in a hospital room in Detroit, Michigan surrounded by his siblings, his wife, and a few medical attendants. The world gasped when they heard the news because they knew this man by a different name: Harry Houdini.
But most wondered if death could hold him; for years, Houdini boasted of a plan to cheat the grave.
John’s patience for crossing New York City on foot finally ran out so he flagged down a cab and crawled in. Once they got underway, John tapped the driver on the shoulder to give him the address. The driver screamed, snatched the wheel, sideswiped a bus, went up on the sidewalk, and stopped inches from a store window.
In his book The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey contemplates what would have happened if Jesus never rose from the grave: there would probably be a collection of His teachings, and maybe even a statue in downtown Jerusalem. But, Jesus did rise!
As Yancey says, Easter changes everything.