Bridge to Life's Greatest Hope
hilip never felt like he belonged. He was pleasant enough but he looked different and sometimes seemed a little unusual to his eight-year-old class mates. He was born with Down's Syndrome.
In his Sunday School class following one Easter, Philip's teacher, in keeping with the Easter theme, gave each member a plastic egg–the kind pantyhose come in—and instructed them to go outside and find a symbol for new life and put it in their egg. In class the eggs were opened one at a time with each child explaining the meaning of his symbol.
In the first egg was a pretty flower, in the next a beautiful butterfly. The children "oohed" and "aahed." In another there was a rock. The children laughed. In the last egg there was nothing. "That's stupid," one child said. "It's not fair," another remarked.
The teacher felt a tug on his shirt. It was Philip, who said, "It's mine. It's empty—the tomb was empty."
The class was visibly moved and from that day accepted Philip as part of the group.
Philip still had many physical problems and that summer he picked up an infection most children could have easily shaken off. But Philip's weak body couldn't. A few weeks later he died. At his funeral nine eight-year-old children with their teacher brought their symbol of remembrance and placed it on the altar. Their gift of love to Philip wasn't flowers. It was an empty egg—now their symbol of new life and hope.
Even the soldiers were terrified
when they saw what had happened.
It was Philip, the "different" child, who helped his friends see the exciting hope that Easter holds.
Most people accept that Jesus Christ died by crucifixion at Easter time two thousand years ago. But what about his rising from the dead—is that fact or fantasy?
If it's fantasy, Easter is an empty religious ritual and shatters man's hope of life beyond the grave. If it's fact, it is life's most wondrous story and proves beyond doubt that man can live again after his dies!
Dr. Simon Greenleaf, a professor at Harvard Law School, was challenged to evaluate the resurrection of Jesus Christ using well established legal principles. In his treatise, The Four Evangelists, he wrote, "According to the laws of legal evidence the resurrection of Jesus Christ is proven by more substantial evidence than any other event of ancient history." The following is some of that evidence.
Item one: The empty tomb. The religious leaders were so intensely jealous of Christ's popularity they used false testimony to have him crucified. Immediately following his burial these men went to Pilate, the Roman Governor and, reminding him that Jesus said he would rise three days after his death, persuaded Pilate to make Christ's tomb secure to ensure that his followers couldn't remove his body and claim that he had risen.
Neither Pilate nor the religious leaders could afford to take any chances. If Christ rose from the dead, it would cause such an uproar Pilate's political career would be in jeopardy, and the religious leaders' reputation would be destroyed.
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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