by Tony Nester

Questioning the Resurrection
Tony Nester
Matthew 22:23-33

Some people will spend Easter at a graveyard.

Although a fresh grave is usually a site of sorrow, an established grave, well-kept and adorned with flowers, is often a source of comfort. Have you noticed that people like walking through cemeteries? They like to scan the epitaphs, to touch, even caress, the grave stones.

I once observed a man who carried a lawn chair from his car and seated himself in front of grave stone. He was alone. The grave was not fresh. He was there, I guessed, to spend time remembering his wife. He wasn't crying. He wasn't gesticulating in any way. Just there. Just remembering. Just holding on. The scene tugged at my heart.

The first Easter for Christians was located at a graveyard. It was actually a cave-like tomb in a garden area outside of Jerusalem. The opening was sealed with a large stone that could be rolled across to close it.

The Gospels report that early in the morning several women went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with appropriate spices in order to give him a proper burial. There hadn't been time for that on Friday afternoon when he taken down from the cross because the Jewish Sabbath was beginning when no work could be done. Burial work had to be delayed until dawn on Sunday morning.

The women went to the tomb looking for comfort. Their mourning was raw grief mixed with desolation. Still, there was some comfort to be found at that tomb - a last touch upon his body, a duty accomplished and the satisfaction of placing his body into final rest.

But could they hope for more? What about a resurrection? Could God raise the dead? Would he?

This was a question fiercely debated in their day. The argument had two opposing sides.

On the one side were the Pharisees. They said ''Yes - God will raise the dead''. They had found scriptures to support their belief in resurrection.

For example, Psalm 16:10-11: ''For you do not give me up t ...

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