We live in a time where news items that look like facts may not be facts. For some years now, we have had to learn to handle fake news and manipulated pictures, which want us to believe in propaganda and lies. Although the scale of all this has increased with the help of the internet, the phenomenon, as such, is old.
After the death of Jesus on the cross, his body was placed in a cave-like grave. A big stone was put in front of the entrance. That was Friday evening. Roman soldiers were stationed in front of the grave. They were not there because anyone believed that the dead Jesus would escape, but in order to prevent his friends from stealing the body and claiming that he had risen from the dead.
On Sunday morning, a couple of women went to the grave in order to care for the dead body, which had been put there too hastily to be treated with spices and perfume. However, both they and the soldiers were in for a surprise.
The earth started to shake and an angel appeared, accompanied by a strong light, like lightning. The soldiers and the women actually shared the same experience, but from there they went in different directions, telling different stories.
The two Marys did as the angel had said and went to the other disciples, telling them the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead, was now alive in a new kind of body and that he would meet them all in Galilee. They were excited and joyful.
The two soldiers were afraid. They had failed to keep their orders (to keep the dead body in the grave) and faced severe punishment. However, they told their story to the religious leaders who were disturbed. The priests and elders came up with a lie and paid the soldiers to spread their false version of the event and even promised to protect them from the governor. The alternative story was that the disciples came during the night and stole the body while the guards were asleep.
As Matthew puts it in his book: “So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.”
It is a historically verified fact that Jesus from Nazareth rose from the dead and showed himself to his followers and hundreds of people. Furthermore, he did not die and get buried a second time, but he went back to his Father in heaven. He did that in order to fulfil his promise, that the presence of God’s Kingdom would be launched on earth in a new way. God the Father would send the Holy Spirit to reside in all believers in order to make His grace and truth, righteousness and Agape love visible and available through the generations.
The important thing with the truth of the resurrection of Jesus, is not just that it is a fact. There are many facts in this world that are irrelevant to our lives. The important and beautiful thing is that, as a result, the world can be a different, better place. Jesus is now the living, victorious Saviour. Death and the evil of Satan can no longer hold us in darkness. By faith and fellowship with Jesus, we can both be and live God’s Kingdom presence here and now.