I still remember when one of my childhood friends made a big announcement: she no longer believed Santa Claus was real but she still believed in the Easter Bunny.
While her thinking seemed illogical to me, I tried to understand where she was coming from. As for me, I never remembered believing Santa Claus was anything but a fun person in a suit. My theory about the Easter Bunny was built off my theory of Santa Claus. But for my friend, who had believed the Santa Claus story for years until she realized Santa Claus looked, sounded and acted differently at the mall every year, the Easter Bunny offered a more believable alternative. The Easter Bunny was rather elusive in the ‘90s. He didn’t show up at many community Easter egg hunts like he does today. A child couldn’t see the Easter Bunny appears to be a person in a suit, so it could make sense the mysterious bunny filled the fields overnight with plastic chicken eggs. I didn’t tell my friend but I was still convinced that the Easter Bunny was also a person in a suit.
This week, millions of people around the world will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, a man who was crucified about 2,000 years ago for claiming to be God in human form. The report of his resurrection is what has caused millions of people around the world to believe his claims to be God and build their lives around his teachings recorded by four first-century reporters: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Over the centuries, several theories have surfaced to try to refute the reporting of Jesus’ resurrection, according to the “Handbook of Christian Apologetics” by Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli.
First, some people have theorized that Jesus did not really die on the cross but that he was simply revived after resting in the tomb. However, John reported that blood and water came from Jesus’ heart when it was pierced by those checking to make sure he was dead. Death by asphyxiation or hypovolemic shock would cause water to build up around the heart.
Others say perhaps the disciples hallucinated that they saw Jesus after he died. However, people touched Jesus after he rose from the dead. He was consistent in his appearance and personality. He appeared to multiple individuals and groups for over a month. Group hallucinations are rare. Luke reported about 500 people saw Jesus at once after he was resurrected. When the Apostle Paul was spreading the report of the resurrection further west, he noted that many of these 500 were still alive, available for questioning.
Another argument against the resurrection is that Jesus’ followers and the reporters created a conspiracy. It is not very plausible such a conspiracy could have been perpetrated considering how difficult it would have been to take Jesus’ body from a guarded tomb and destroy the evidence so quickly. Conspiracies are usually found out, especially when a group has adversaries. It is doubtful that 3,000 people in the area would have become Christians within a couple of months if the resurrection had been made up.
That a man named Jesus rose from the dead in the Middle East about 2,000 years ago is not really a disputed fact of history. Who you think he was, how and why he rose from the dead and what it means for your life is a matter of personal decision and faith.
As for me, I still believe He was God in a human suit. If those reporters got the resurrection right, I believe they quoted Him accurately, too.
Sara Marie Moore is editor of the Shoreview Press. She can be reached at 651-407-1235 or email@example.com.