There are those who say that the Resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth is merely a story. They will claim, falsely, that the Risen Lord is derived from an agricultural myth. They will assert, wrongly, that “Easter is originally the celebration of Ishtar, the Assyrian and Babylonian goddess of fertility and sex.” They will declare, contra the historical evidence, that Jesus Christ never lived or was crucified on a cross by the Roman authorities.
It is strange, is it not, that they should tell so many palpable lies in the service of that which they say to be truth?
The Apostle Paul once said that if the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ is not true, then we Christians are the saddest and most pathetic of all men. Everything we do, everything we believe, everything for which we hope and strive, is a lie.
It is strange, is it not, that so many observable and long-lived truths should stand so firmly on such a flimsy foundation of falsehood?
From Plato to Zelazny, men of letters have written of the purer things, that in their perfection spawn lesser shadows and imitations that reflect but an aspect of the true essence. From where does truth come, if not the Truth? And did Jesus not say that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Life?
Those who are Aristotelian devotees of reality stand by the Lesser Truth that A is A, and that A is never Not-A. But the Lesser Truth descends from, and depends upon, the Greater Truth, which is this:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Yesterday the light shone in the darkness. Today the light shines in the darkness. Tomorrow the light will shine in the darkness. And the darkness will never, ever, overcome it.
It is not a story, it is The Story, it is the oldest story, it is the true story from which all other stories flow. Light versus dark. And despite the darkness that surrounds us, that pervades us, that haunts us, the light of all mankind is winning.
That is why, all around the world this morning, there are millions of men and women who will greet each other with three simple words of hope and truth and triumph.
Christ is risen!