BREAKING NEWS? Another mass shooting has taken the lives of fourteen people, injured twenty-one, left the county of San Bernardino devastated and our country dismayed with grief. President Obama, our Commander in Grief, sounds like a broken record repeating this claim after these events: “We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”
America, the wealthiest most powerful military nation in the world, can create some of the most amazing technological, space and satellite advances, but cannot solve the problem of gun control in a nation that is getting wilder than the old west. Our President is running out of words with which to comfort those who suffer at the hands of this evil. Our nation is becoming wary with mass murder fatigue, but before we throw up our hands in disgust, here’s a word of hope: resurrection (Acts 24:15).
The miracle of the resurrection is a powerful message of hope for those who mourn the unexpected injuries and unnecessary deaths by America’s weapon of mass destruction. The word “resurrection” also means “resurgence” in the sense of coming back, renewing or rising up. In other words, Jesus Christ who was crucified, died and was buried in the ground then unexpectedly, miraculously resurged. Simply stated, after He died, He came back to life, never to die again! All who die will experience resurrection, but the gift of eternal life belongs to those who accept Him as their personal Savior while they are living.
Most religions, and the world is full of them, are built on philosophies, but the four major systems of beliefs in our day are established on personalities. Yet, only one, Christianity, can claim that its founder was resurrected from the dead and is alive, after more than two thousand years. For example: Judaism, the oldest of the four and the mother of Christianity, claims Abraham as its founder saying, “Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life” (Genesis 25:8). Historians affirm and Jews confirm that Abraham died around 1900 BC and remains dead.
Buddhism, the next oldest of the four, was founded by Prince Siddhartha Gautama in Bodh Gaya, India, about 2,500 years ago. Their records asserts, “He died with that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind.” No disciple or apostle of Buddha can declare as Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15:3-8. Why can’t they claim this? Because Buddha is dead and remains so to this day and that’s that! Islam, the youngest and fastest growing of the four major world religions, was founded on the life and teachings of Mohammed. Historians report and adherents attest that Mohammed died 612 AD at the age of 61, in Medina where his tomb is visited annually by thousands of devout followers. There’s no trace or evidence that Mohammed existed or appeared to his disciples after his death. Not one of them can claim or declare with proof that they or others have ever seen the risen Mohammed. Why? Because he died and is still dead!
Unlike the ardent adherents of these three religions, we know without a shadow of a doubt that the empty tomb is not only the cradle of Christianity it’s the cornerstone of our faith (John 20:1-10). The empty tomb represents our future and hope of life beyond the grave. The empty tomb resonates with the desire of our hearts to be reunited with our loved ones when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time shall be no more!
More than two millennia ago, early in the morning, just as the sun was rising, a group of women made their way through the mist to the tomb where Jesus was buried. They weren’t on their way to a sunrise service on a hill far away. They weren’t on their way to worship and sing songs of praise in a comfortable, carpeted sanctuary set apart from the maddening crowd. They weren’t running with joy and skipping with excitement. The bottom of their world had dropped out and they were free falling without a future and a hope, just as some who mourn in San Bernardino, Paris and many other places marked by mass murder. But when they arrived at the tomb, to their surprise the huge stone was already rolled away and the tomb was empty. Beyond all hope or dreams, they were met with the miracle of the resurrection as they discovered that Jesus lives. He lives, and because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because we know He holds the future, our life is worth the living just because He lives!