When preachers compare the response of the crowd on Palm Sunday (“Hosanna!”, Mk 11.9; Mt 21:9) to that of the crowd just a few days’ later (“Crucify him!”, Mk 15:13; Lk 23:21; Jn 19:15) they often explain this in terms of fickleness (“How quickly they changes their minds about Jesus!”). I’ve done it myself.
But it’s not at all clear that the crowd who acclaimed Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem was the same group of people who called for his execution. …
Bible Society NSW has been told that it cannot have a stall at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show. The stall was to have been on the theme of ‘Jesus All About Life’, but the organisers banned it on account of its ‘religious’ theme.
As CEO of Bible Society NSW, Daniel Willis says,
It’s a curious thing that an event bearing the name “Easter” has disallowed anything to do with the very thing Easter is all about – the death and resurrection of Jesus.
It is not difficult to find sceptics who will dismiss the historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus with a casual wave of the hand. Richard Dawkins, for example, says:-
I don’t know where the story of Jesus rising from the dead comes from. The actual documentary evidence is very bad as historical evidence goes, and so, given its enormous inherent implausibility, I’d be much more inclined to suspect it. You needn’t go as far as to say ‘hoax’ – it’s just that when very, very charismatic people die, legends grow up about them in a very mysterious way.
There are those (including some Muslim scholars) who like to drive a wedge between the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ resurrection and those of Paul. ‘Paul,’ they say, ‘never mentions the empty tomb; therefore, he must have believed in a very different kind of resurrection – a ‘spiritual, rather than a physical kind’. This impression seems to be strengthened by Paul’s insistence that resurrection bodies (of both Christ and others) are ‘spiritual’ rather than ‘fleshly’.
It has been too readily assumed that when Paul says that ‘flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God’ he is thereby denying bodily resurrection. …
A lawyer’s testimony: ‘As a lawyer I have made a prolonged study of the evidences for the events of the first Easter Day. To me the evidence is conclusive, and over and over again in the High Court I have secured the verdict on evidence not nearly so compelling…I accept [the Gospel evidence for the resurrection] unreservedly as the testimony of truthful men to facts they were able to substantiate.’ (Sir Edward Clarke KC)
A theologian’s testimony: ‘Taking all the evidence together, it is not too much to say that there is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ. …
Various answers could be given to the question, and there would be truth in all of them.
We could, for example, say that Christ died because of the actions of the Roman soldiers and Pilate. The soldiers ‘crucified him’, Mt 27:32-35; Mk 15:21-25; Lk 23:26-33; Jn 19:17-18. And Pilate, the Roman governor, allowed them to do so even though he knew Jesus to be innocent.
We could also say that Christ died because of the actions of the Jewish people and their priests. …
1. The measure of man’s guilt, Acts 3:13-15.
2. The manifestation of God’s love, Rom 5:6-8.
3. The means of salvation, Jn 3:14-15.
4. The mark of separation, Gal 6:14.
5. The motive of service, 2 Cor 5:14f.
6. The melody of heaven, Rev 5:8-10.