By Susan Engel, MHSH
It begins with a question. Several years ago, ABC aired a documentary entitled “Resurrection.” It offered a compelling debate about whether Jesus rose “physically” from the dead. They interviewed Biblical scholars—Jewish, Protestant and Catholic. The program did not definitively answer the question of whether the resurrection was physical as well as spiritual.
The answer for me is – something happened that was not merely an internal conversion for the apostles. If they did not have an experience of seeing Jesus in a resurrected form, how could they change so drastically? Logical reasoning or wishful thinking did not convince the Apostles that Jesus rose from the dead. Neither did reflecting back years later after Jesus’ death make the apostles create the story of the Resurrection. Searching the Hebrew Scriptures for answers could not create such an enormous radical change in the followers of Jesus.
After Jesus died, not only did their dreams and hopes for a new kingdom evaporate, but they were frightened for their own lives. The gospels record what happened. The Apostles were behind locked doors. They were fleeing Jerusalem for fear they would be crucified next. They went back to fishing. They sought the safety and security of their former lives. But then Jesus appeared to them and they were emboldened. Nothing else can explain why all the Apostles, except John, were martyred.
Reading spiritual literature, nature is often cited for a reason to believe in the Resurrection. In the springtime when we see new buds burst forth from what appear to be dead branches, doesn’t that help us believe in life after death? The lesson from nature strengthens my belief in a cosmic creator God.
I know the answer to the question raised in the ABC documentary.
To believe in Jesus’ Resurrection, I look to Mary Magdalene who was the first to meet the risen Jesus, and I see the answer to the question in the lives of the Apostles.
The answer is Easter! The Resurrection happened. I’m sure of it.