After 2,000 years, the Easter story as related in the Gospels continues to rank as incredibly high drama. An objective retelling includes:
· high profile offender prosecuted and convicted without evidence
· prisoner abuse in the extreme
· capital punishment of the most heinous kind
· shocking atmospheric disturbances
· formal military guard for corpse
· distraught mourners
· a disappearing act
· confusion, denial and bribery at the highest levels of government
· conflicting accounts
· and finally, supernatural sightings.
The story has every element needed to grab the modern reader’s interest with the exception of a high speed car chase. And yet, rather than the “15 minutes of fame” that today’s news stories hope to garner in a 24/7 reporting cycle, this story is the drama of history repeated, reenacted, and re-lived every year since.
There were no i-reporters, but there was a woman who was able to say with the pure conviction of truth, “I have seen the Lord!” It was personal. Some thought she was hysterical, but soon others were able to corroborate her story. Different versions of the unlikely news surfaced, but Mary Magdalene’s story was true. And the truth, like the Lord himself, could not be suppressed. It was God’s timing; it was the turn of history.
As Good Friday approaches, the world will again contemplate the sacrifice of Jesus. And as we attend yet another sunrise service on Easter morning, may the good news not just be old news, but may the truth that he lives be personal: “I have seen the Lord!”