(April 15) Thank goodness God can transcend syllogism.

If Christians are to think literally and purely logically on this Easter weekend, we would wonder what makes the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus so special.

After all, neither his execution nor his return to life were unique. The Bible and church tradition tell us that the physical suffering of Jesus of Nazareth was matched by countless martyrs who also were crucified or burned at the stake or fed to lions or otherwise tortured unto death. Indeed, if there are gradations of physical suffering, it probably was worse for the apostle Peter, crucified head down, than for Jesus, head up.

…. [later in the piece]

And as for resurrection — well, hadn’t Jesus already performed that trick? All three Synoptic Gospels tell of Jesus raising from the dead the daughter of a synagogue leader named Jairus. The Gospel of Luke includes the account of Jesus raising from the dead the son of a widow in the town of Nain. And the Gospel of John memorably recounts how Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from a tomb four days after Lazarus had died.

Three Crosses On Mountain With Red Clouds

Therefore, if Jesus is far from the only person to have been tortured to death without cause and was the fourth person in just three years who rose from the dead, well, what’s the big deal about Good Friday and Easter?…. [and later]

The theological answer is something along the lines of showing that suffering can have redemptive significanceif, Christians say, we accept this particular sufferer as lord and savior.

For all of us, though, believer and nonbeliever alike, there is more. There is the actual record of what Jesus’s event inspired in a way no other suffering or reputed resurrection has done. There is the record of nearly 2,000 years of how many millions of lives were turned around, how many people found hope, how many acts of charity were performed, how many acts of mercy enabled, all because the story of one man’s death and its aftermath moved people through two millennia to find their better selves and help make this world more loving….. [For the rest of this Easter column, please follow this link.]




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