About 10 years ago, Father James Martin published a book called “Jesus: A Pilgrimage.” It’s a fascinating book to read because it takes you to the very places Jesus was when the events described in the gospels happened. (There is a copy of it in the Prayer Room at VSCC.) Martin’s book helped me realize even more how human Jesus really was. But it also made clear that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.

            It’s one thing to believe in a man that walked the earth some 2000 years ago, teaching a new way of life, healing people of their ailments and their demons, establishing a small but strong following. That alone stretches some people’s sense of rational or logical. But the power of Jesus goes way beyond human capabilities. Jesus not only did great things as a human, but he also did things no human could do alone. And that should confuse us … and astound us! Jesus wasn’t going for rational or logical in his ministry … either then … or now. So, it’s not that sensible, if I may say, to expect the incarnation of God in a human being to be rational or logical.

James Martin has 2 really valuable lessons for us as we come to another Easter Sunday in our lives. These 2 things are validation for us that Jesus indeed was other-worldly, as well as worldly; that he was supernatural as well as natural. Don’t expect that to ever make sense, because faith is the only way to believe in the Jesus of Easter. It’s our faith, informed and animated by the Holy Spirit that reveals to us the truth about Jesus. And this truth tells us 2 things that are true of the Easter Jesus:    

This is how Father Martin explained these 2 things in an interview he gave just after his book came out.

  1. Jesus really did perform miracles.

Many people are uncomfortable with Jesus’s supernatural power and other signs of his divinity. But an immense part of the Gospels is taken up with what are called “works of power” and “signs” — that is, miracles. In fact, some of the sayings that people take for granted and quote approvingly — even by those who do not accept Jesus’s divinity — occur within the context of the miracle stories. Remove the miracles and there is no context for many of Jesus’ most familiar sayings.

Jesus’ ability to perform miracles was never in doubt in the Gospels. Even his detractors take note of his miracles, as when they critique him for healing on the Sabbath. The question posed by people of his time is not whether Jesus can do miracles, but rather the source of his power. The statement that Jesus was seen as a miracle worker in his time has as much reliability as almost any other statement we can make about him.

  1. Jesus rose from the dead.

Not everyone believes this about Jesus, because to believe this is to be a Christian, and not everyone reading this is Christian. But let me offer a kind of “proof,” if you will — even though the only proof was what the disciples saw on Easter Sunday.

The Gospels were written for the early church, and the Gospel writers would certainly not go out of their way to make the apostles — the leaders of the early church, after all — look bad. Nonetheless, notice that the Gospels portray the apostles as abject cowards during the crucifixion: most of them abandon Jesus; one of them, Peter, denies knowing him; and after his death they are depicted as cowering behind closed doors. That’s hardly something that the Gospel writers would make up.

But after the Resurrection, they are utterly transformed. The disciples move from being terrified victims to men and women ready to die for what they believe. Only something dramatic, something visible, something tangible, something real, could affect this kind of change.

Jesus really and truly rose from the dead. For me, that’s the most important thing to know about Jesus.

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Easter is a time of miracles. It celebrates the most amazing miracle of all, the resurrection, and it opens up the power of God to all of us. But, of course, not everyone is prepared to believe in a savior who rose from the dead and is with us today; not everyone understands the power of miracles in the world today, or in their own lives. The faith to truly believe these things can only come with the help of the Holy Spirit.

This Easter, make way for God to touch you and teach you in ways you haven’t yet allowed. Open yourselves up fully to the great mysteries of God, including resurrection and miracles. If we only allow the rational and logical into our orbit of believability, that leaves no room for the God of history, scripture, or daily presence. The truth of Easter is this: God is real, Jesus lives, and the Holy Spirit is their path to truth and wisdom.

My prayer is that all of this becomes crystal clear to each one of us on Easter 2022! And for that to happen, we all need help. And the help that God offers us … is what Easter is all about. That’s why Jesus, “really and truly,” rose from the dead; to help us become believers in God’s irrational and illogical truth.   

Holy Week Blessings,

Pastor Bob <><