The Word Among Us

Easter 2007 Issue

It Really Happened!

Recently, I watched the latest movie version of C.S. Lewis’ fantasy novel, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. One part of the movie especially caught my attention: the decision of the lion, Aslan, to sacrifice himself for the sake of the young boy, Edmund.

It was very sad to watch so many foul creatures mock and humiliate this noble beast—and then to see the White Witch kill him with such gleeful malice. But then it was pure joy to see him rise from the dead, and destroy the White Witch once and for all.

While watching this movie, I couldn’t help but think about Jesus, and how he freely went to the cross in order to rescue us from sin and death. I couldn’t help but think about how much Jesus loves us—enough to sacrifice himself just so that we could be redeemed. It was all very moving.

This allegory of Jesus’ cross inspired me and made me want to give my life to Jesus even more. In a similar way, we want to devote this Easter issue to the story of Jesus’ resurrection in the hope that it will inspire all of us to be as bold as the first disciples were in the way they lived and proclaimed the gospel.

The Power of the Resurrection. Let’s look at some of these first disciples when they were faced with the news about an empty tomb. Mary Magdalene seems to have had a hard time believing that Jesus had risen, even though she saw the tomb. John saw the same thing as Mary, and it moved him to begin to believe. Then there was Thomas, who demanded to touch Jesus’ wounds before he would budge from his unbelief.

That’s quite a range of responses, isn’t it? Yet when we fast-forward to the near future, we find that all of these disciples were changed once they encountered the risen Lord themselves. Jesus took them all to a deeper level of faith. Mary’s faith was rejuvenated, John believed more completely, and Thomas cried out, "My Lord and my God!" Whether our faith most resembles that of Mary Magdalene, John, or Thomas, one thing is for sure: Jesus wants to reveal himself more deeply to us. He longs to give us all deeper insights into the power and glory of his resurrection.

Stories like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe can be very enjoyable. Sometimes they even have kernels of wisdom to help us understand the mysteries of our faith. But the resurrection of Jesus isn’t just a story. It really happened! Jesus really did rise from the dead. He really does reign in heaven. He really has defeated every evil power.

When they met the risen Lord, the disciples came to see how the resurrection was the climax of God’s great plan of salvation. It was true! Everything Jesus promised was fulfilled! And what’s more, Jesus was asking them to play a vital role as his plan continued to unfold over time. Brothers and sisters, God’s plan is still unfolding today, and each of us has a critical role to play as well. We aren’t just spectators, as in a movie; we are the characters themselves!