What is Easter?
(Three friends Roshan, Rohit & Preeti discuss about Easter)
Roshan : Hi, Rohit
Rohit : Hi. Nice to meet you.
Roshan : I was praying for you daily since we met last time. I asked God to comfort you.
Rohit :Thank you. I felt God like a father to me. I no longer feel depressed & hopeless about my future.
Preeti : Hi, Rohit
Rohit : Hi, Preeti
Preeti : It appears, you are discussing something seriously. I hope I am not intruding.
Rohit : No, Preeti. Meet my friend Roshan
Preeti : Hi, Roshan
Roshan : Hi, Preeti
Rohit : Actually we met today to talk about Easter
Preeti : I have an aunt of mine who lives in Chicago. She used to tell me that during Easter they colour eggs. They exchange greetings which usually have photos of cute bunnies along with colourful eggs. Lots of games & various leisure activities are also planned for Easter. But I do not know why they are being done.
Roshan : The Easter bunnies & egg are all traditional practices in the west for many centuries. These have become the recognized & widely adored symbols of Easter just like how Santaclaus is for Christmas. Actually these practices have nothing to do with Easter.
Preeti : Nothing to do with easter! Then What is Easter?
Rohit : Easter is the day of resurrection. Jesus offered himself as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the whole world. After his death & burial, Jesus rose from the death on the 3rd day. That day is celebrated as Easter.
Preeti : There is no person in the history of mankind who has ever risen from the death. I don’t see anything rational in believing that Jesus had risen from the dead. I think it is the vain belief of some religious people. What do you think Rohit?
Rohit : I was also thinking that way till last week but now I know that he has risen from the dead and is alive today. I do not have any proof or any logic for my belief but my experience during discussion with Roshan changed all that. Jesus has filled my life with such peace & joy that I cannot believe that he does not exist. He is like a father to me now.
Preeti : I have never experienced anything that you say. I think you are emotionally sensitive, that is why you are searching for God. I go to church once in every three months. I say prayers but I am not dependent on God to run my life. Take life easy, enjoy every moment, be positive, be confident then you can face any problem in life. You should live your life like me.
Rohit : I do not know what to say. I am feeling inferior now after hearing what you are saying. What do you think Roshan?
Roshan : Tell me what do you do when you are not well?
Rohit : When I am not well. I delay going to the doctor. I take a pain killer & wait for natural healing to take place. Only if there is no improvement then I go to the doctor.
Preeti : When I am not well, I usually visit the doctor as soon as possible. Normally he prescribes some medicines after examining me. Sometimes the doctor tells me to get some diagnostic test done.
Roshan : I remember once I was suffering from indigestion, I was not feeling hungry at all . I met the doctor along with my mother. The doctor pressed hard in the region below the rib area on both sides and told me to take some medicines. My mother does not have any medical qualification but she gently asked the doctor if some diagnostic test can be done to identify whether I have Jaundice. The doctor said that “based on past experience I can tell by physical examination itself whether the patient is suffering from Jaundice. But for your satisfaction I will prescribe for Blood & Urine test”. Guess what, the test revealed I was suffering from Jaundice.
Preeti : That shows how important diagnostic tests are in medical treatment. These days for cancer, the earlier it is detected the quicker will be chance of recovery.
Roshan : Absolutely. Just think of a person with cancer who doesn’t know that he has cancer. If the cancer is diagnosed at later stages what are the chances of survival?
Rohit : I know & I have heard of many people who have died of cancer because of late diagnosis.
Preeti : I too know many such instances.
Roshan : The same is true of our spiritual life. The Bible says all of mankind is sick spiritually with something more deadly than cancer. If we do not do a diagnosis of our heart condition, we may not release that and end up losing our life for ever. Once you have done the diagnosis, take it to the physician and he will give you the best remedy.
Rohit : Jesus is the great physician that we have to go to. By His wounds we are healed. Isn’t it?
Roshan : He gives healing to the whole person i.e physical, mental & spiritual.
Preeti : I understand what you are saying but unless I have confidence in Jesus how can I believe he can heal me. If you can explain logically & show me that the probability of Jesus resurrection is quite high, then I could think of believing Jesus as God.
Roshan : Do you think Jesus is a real historical person who lived about 2000 years ago or do you think he is a mythological character invented by religious people?
Preeti : I think Jesus is a real person who actually lived.
Roshan : There is more documentary proof of Jesus existence than Alexander the great. Jesus is referred to by many Non-Christian sources as early as 100 A.D. There is no doubt among historians that a person called Jesus existed, that he did good including some unbelievable miracles, that he was crucified and that the tomb were he was buried became empty later.
Preeti : Most of what we know about Jesus is from the Bible. Can the Bible be trusted to be a true account of Jesus.
Roshan : The Bible is actually a collection of 66 books written by about 40 different authors under the inspiration of God himself over a period of 2000 years. The Bible never contradicts itself. It has inspired many people. The words in the Bible are alive and speak today.
Preeti : The Bible has two portions namely Old & New Testament. Am I correct?
Roshan : Yes. There are 39 books in the Old Testament (OT) & 27 books in the New Testament.(NT) The OT contains books written before the coming of Jesus Christ to this world while New Testament contains books written after the advent of Jesus. The first four books of NT namely Mathew, Mark, Luke and John are called Gospels. The Gospels record the life of Jesus Christ.
Preeti : I will read the gospels to know about Jesus Christ. I have three Bibles of different sizes which I have never opened to read.
Rohit : We came to discuss about Easter but we have not done yet. Tell me what happened on that day.
Roshan : According to the gospels after Jesus died on the cross one of the follower of Jesus took permission to bury the body of Jesus. He laid it in a tomb. The tomb was closed with a huge stone, it was sealed and security guards were deployed. This was because the Jewish leaders remembered Jesus’ words before his death that he will rise again on the third day. On the 3rd day three women followers of Jesus went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. But found the stone rolled away. They saw an angel who said Jesus is risen from the dead. Jesus later appeared to Mary Magdalene, then to Peter and all disciples. He even appeared to more than 500 of his followers at a time.
Rohit : The first person who saw the risen Jesus was a woman.
Roshan : Women played a important role during the life of Jesus, if you read the gospel of Luke as well as the other gospel you can find it out. Women must have been drawn to Jesus by his compassion for the suffering.
Preeti : Oh, that is interesting
Roshan : There was one disciple of Jesus who did not believe that Jesus rose from the dead. He said “Unless I see in his hand the print of the nails and place my finger pin the mark of the nails and place my hand in his hand, I will not believe”. But Jesus appeared to him and told Thomas to put his fingers in his hand & place it in his side. Thomas then believed that Jesus was God. History says Thomas came to South India in the first century to share his experiences. Can you tell some reasons that people could say to justify their unbelief in resurrection of Jesus?
Rohit : One reason would be to say that Jesus never died, then the question of his resurrection does not arise.
Roshan : It is historically accepted that Jesus died, hence that does not hold water.
Preeti : Isn’t it possible that the disciples were just imagining that he rose again and it seemed true to them.
Roshan : You are saying that they may have had hallucinations of the resurrection. It is possible for people to have hallucinations but it is not possible for 500 people to imagine Jesus’ resurrection at the same time. These people touched Jesus, they ate with him and talked with him for 40 days after resurrection.
Preeti : Isn’t it possible that rumours were created that Jesus rose, which over a period of time became a legend.
Roshan : If the resurrection of Jesus was a myth then the disciples would not risk dying for their belief. You may know that all disciples of Jesus were martyred. Moreover legends are formed over a period of time, say 100 or more years. If these people were lying then they would not do it consistently particularly when their life is at stake. Many people who tried to disprove resurrection ended up proving it. If you read the gospels you can decide for yourself. If you believe in the existence of a true God speak to him and ask him to reveal himself to you.
Preeti : I will do as you say. It has become late, I have an appointment and have to go. Bye guys.
Roshan : Jesus said “ I am the resurrection & life”. Jesus demonstrated his power over death by raising a person called Lazarus from the death four days after his burial. He himself rose from the dead. Everybody who believes in Jesus will also experience resurrection.
Rohit : Oh I see.
Roshan : After death we go to the place where Jesus is now. It is called Heaven. There is no pain, sorrow or tears in heaven. This belief fills my life with hope. I look forward to a never ending life in heaven with Jesus. I am not afraid to face death as a result of resurrection of Jesus.
Rohit : You mean to say I can also go to heaven. What else should I do to ensure a place in heaven.
Roshan : Jesus has given us the ticket to heaven free of cost. It is free for us but it cost him his life. We are now on a journey to Heaven. If we perform the journey with Jesus there is no possibility of missing heaven.
Rohit : Thank you Roshan. After my father’s death I was not only afraid of how I am going to face the future. I was also afraid to imagine the prospect of my death because none of us can escape death. But the truth that Jesus rose from the dead guarantees my resurrection. Doesn’t it?
Roshan : Yes. Let’s thank God for the resurrection this Easter. Bye Rohit, I have to leave for Bhopal today. I will be back in a week’s time.