The big picture – Part 5

Pastor Tracy Ottenbreit
Slave Lake Alliance Church

In this final chapter of the Big Picture, we see that as part of the Christian worldview, all things as we know them will come to an end. This world we be restored to its original blueprints – us in relationship with God and all creation in perfect harmony, untainted by sin.
Sounds pretty pie-in-the-sky, right? I agree. This sounds about as made-up as Sleeping Beauty where one kiss restores all things back to normal. It sounds both magical and fictional. Yet, there is one problem – the historical event of the resurrection of Jesus.
While many have tried their best to debunk this event, their efforts have often driven even the most hardened skeptics to faith. Some will play the bias card, claiming that the most complete records of this event are written by believers. True, but would we discount the eye-witness accounts of Gettysburg because they were there and believed it happened? Certainly not.
Endless theories about Jesus not really dying or the apostles stealing the body or mistaking the actual tomb have all been shown terribly hollow. After analysing 1,400 academic sources published since 1975 in English, French, and German, it has been found that there are four generally accepted facts regarding the resurrection.
First, Jesus died on a Roman cross on Friday and was buried in a tomb. Second, that tomb was empty Sunday morning. Third, there were many witnesses who testified – to their own peril – that they saw Jesus alive after his death. Finally, hardened skeptics like Paul and James were convinced they had seen Jesus alive post mortem and maintained that testimony to their own execution.
This does not mean that most scholars agree that Jesus rose from the dead. There is still much debate about what actually happened, but the fact that no credible alternative theory exists gives me cause to consider the possibility of a miracle. As Sherlock said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
Why is the resurrection of Jesus such a big deal to Christians? Why is Easter such a sacred event? Because the Bible says that Jesus’ resurrection is the first of many – that all people will, in fact, return to life. The resurrection of Jesus is humanity’s rock solid proof there is a power greater than death in this universe.
However, not all will be resurrected to eternal life. Those who have not put their trust in Christ to save them from their sins will be separated from God in a place called hell. Some object to a loving God allowing for such a place. Yet, it is not his love, it is his justice that opens this door.
“But hell is too harsh.” The guilty are the least able to properly judge the severity of their crimes. “But hell is too long.” Crimes are never proportionate to how long they take to perpetuate. A thief could take only seconds in a crime for which he will spend years paying. The object of the crime should be taken into account, as well. Assaulting a normal person is one punishment and assaulting a police officer is another; the prime minister yet another. Sin is an assault on the sovereign of the universe. What punishment fits that crime?
There is something that we are all searching for – a longing that tends to go unfulfilled. We look around and agree that things just aren’t right. This is exactly what one would expect if the Christian worldview was correct. Things are not right, but they will be. The resurrection of Jesus is proof of that.

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