Did You See The Body?
In the years we’ve been together, I’ve been sharing my movie critic skills with my wife, Katherine. Using these skills, she’s been excited by (and sometimes disappointed) by her ability to know what’s going to happen in a movie or TV show before it happens, like a cinematic fortune-teller. One thing she recently pointed out that she’d learnt from me is that “they’re not dead unless you see the body.” If the bad guy gets shot and falls off a cliff and is presumed dead, they’re probably still alive. Unless they find the body and get a full autopsy, chances are the bad guy will pop up and cause some trouble when the hero least expects it. If you live in the movie world, don’t trust anyone that anyone is dead unless you see the body.
Some people say that Jesus didn’t really die on the cross. That he fainted. That he slipped into a coma. That someone gave him a drug that made it look like he was dead. That it was someone else on the cross pretending to be him. But the accounts of his death in the Gospels are pretty clear. Jesus was arrested by the Jewish authorities. They knew they had the right man because he was identified by one of his closest friends, now a traitor (Mark 14:43-46). He was put on trial by the Jewish leaders who wanted to make sure they executed the right man (Mark 14:55-56). He was crucified in public by Roman soldiers, experts in execution (Mark 15:24-25). The soldiers sought to speed up the crucifixion process by breaking Jesus’ legs, but held back because he was already dead (John 19:31-33). To make sure they weren’t mistaken, they pierced him in the side with a spear (John 19:34). Satisfied that he was truly dead, they handed him over to be buried (John 19:38-42). People witnessed the arrest. People witnessed the trial. People witnessed the crucifixion. People witnessed the dead body being put in the tomb. People saw the body. Jesus was truly dead.
Which makes what happened on the Sunday so miraculous. Jesus was dead beyond a doubt. And then he was alive again. Victorious over sin and death. This wasn’t a magic trick. This wasn’t a stunt. This was the Son of God dying so that our sins may be payed for. And rising from the dead to prove that death could not hold him down. That he was successful in his mission. The resurrection really did happen. A dead man really did come back to life. Jesus is the living God who we should put our trust in. “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 2:31)