Easter and History

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I am an historian, I am not a believer, but I must confess as a historian that this penniless preacher from Nazareth is irrevocably the very center of history. Jesus Christ is easily the most dominant figure in all history.

H.G. Wells

How many movements throughout the history of Man have flourished briefly and then vanished into everlasting oblivion, forgotten entirely by History or relegated to the briefest of footnotes?  From a human standpoint that was clearly the fate of the movement started by the carpenter/rabbi from Galilee following His death on a cross.  His followers had scattered and went into hiding at His arrest.  He was denied by the mob, their choosing a bandit and murderer over Him.  Condemned by the foreigners occupying His country, His people observed His death by mocking Him.  The idea that He had founded a “Church” that would spread around the globe, altering all of human history, and causing Him to be worshiped as God by billions of people would have struck any neutral observer as mad ravings.  Yet that is precisely what happened. 

All of this is completely inexplicable in human terms.  What changed this defeated cause into an everlasting crusade is the Resurrection.  Without it Christianity is an utter mystery and the impact of Christ on our planet the greatest riddle in our history.  The Resurrection turned a group of cowards, cowering in the shadows, into dauntless missionaries willing to go anywhere and to proclaim, whatever the odds, the truth of the Gospel.  It allowed men, women and children who heard the Gospel to embrace it, no matter what bitter persecution they faced. Mockery, argument, even death, nothing could stop the Word from spreading.  Three centuries after Christ died the death of an obscure criminal in Judea, the Roman emperor bowed before the Cross.  It is all so familiar to us, and yet it was all so very, very unlikely.

With the Resurrection God revealed Himself clearly to humanity, and He altered forever after the course our history would take.  He took a footnote and made it the central theme of our story.

8 Responses to Easter and History

  • I should probably make some sort of a joke about this being a once-in-a-double-lifetime event, but too busy smiling.
    Odd, that thinking about how bad things have been can work so well with being hopeful!

    Jesus overcame death– what can stop us?

  • “Jesus overcame death– what can stop us?”

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, which is why the enemies of Christ are usually so out of temper.

  • From a Prayer after the Rosary:

    “O God, whose only begotten Son,
    By His
    Life,
    Death, and
    Resurrection,
    Has purchased for us
    The rewards of eternal life . . . “

  • And to think, we have no record of the resurrection event. We have a record of an empty tomb with witnesses who also saw the Risen Lord. Enough eyewitnesses to give account for these things as the church was launched.

  • one of the things iI appreciate about this post is your choice of words here:
    “What changed this defeated cause into an everlasting crusade is the Resurrection.”

    so many words have been messed with, diluted, stolen or emptied of meaning… there is a whole world of import carried in your use of the word “crusade” here.

  • “And to think, we have no record of the resurrection event”

    IMHO, I think that in a way, we do – the Shroud of Turin. There is now way to explain how that image got on that cloth – other than The Resurrection.

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