Easter Hope

After the death of a close friend in an accident, Christian Philip Yancey reflected : “Rollo May once wrote, “What would it mean for our world if Jesus had truly risen?”

 I read Rollo May’s question the afternoon that Bob died, and it kept floating around in my mind, hauntingly, after I heard the news. What did it mean for our world that Christ had risen? The early Christians had staked everything on the Resurrection, so much so that the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

 In the cloud of grief over Bob’s death, I began to see the meaning of Easter in a new light. …

 On Friday Jesus’ closest friends had let the relentless crush of history snuff out all their dreams. Two days later, when the crazy rumours about Jesus’ missing body shot through Jerusalem, they couldn’t dare to believe. … Only personal appearances by Jesus convinced them that something new, absolutely new, had broken out on earth. When that sank in, those same men who had slunk away in fear at Calvary were soon preaching to large crowds in the streets of Jerusalem.

 At Bob McQuilkin’s funeral, I rephrased Rollo May’s question in the terms of our own grief. What would it mean for us if Bob rose again? We were sitting in a chapel, numbed by three days of grief and sadness, the weight of death bearing down upon us. What would it be like to walk outside to the parking lot and there, to our utter astonishment, find Bob. Bob! With his bounding walk, his crooked grin, and clear, grey eyes.

 That image gave me a hint of what Jesus’ disciples felt on the first Easter. They, too, had grieved for three days. But on Sunday they caught a glimpse of something else, a startling clue to the riddle of the universe. Easter hits a new note, a note of hope and faith that what God did once in a graveyard in Jerusalem, he can and will repeat on a grand scale, for the world. For Bob. For us.

 Philip Yancey, “The Great Reversal,” Christianity Today