Monthly Archives: February 2016

March Shavings Letter

Easter- A Complete Transformation!

In an Easter sermon preached in Germany in 1940, just before he was arrested
by Hitler’s Gestapo, a pastor, Helmut Gollwitzer, said this: “On Easter, a complete
transformation took place…that which was certain has become doubtful, and that
which was doubtful has become very sure.” Notice this transformation that takes place
when the women visit Jesus’ tomb that first Easter. (Mark 16:1-8)

As they made their way along in the first light of dawn, what were their certainties?
The main one was that Jesus was dead. They had seen him crucified, watched him
die, seen his body taken down from the cross and buried. There could be no doubt
about that. And that led to another great certainty: here in this world, death is stronger
than God. For it was in Jesus that God’s own self was revealed to them. Yet death had
taken him as it takes us all. God may be almighty in heaven, but here on earth, death
is king. There could be no doubt about that.

And from those two certainties, came all those bitter, worldly-wise certainties that
people have lived by in every age. Let me mention only a few:

Nice guys finish last.
Might makes right.
Look out for number one.
Don’t get mad, get even.

Surely the women thought that these tough and disillusioned views of reality were the
only certainties that we have. Here they come around the bend with their certainties
and when they looked up, they saw a sight that turned everything upside down. The
stone was rolled back. The tomb was empty. There was a messenger there saying,
“He has risen!“ (Mark 16:6)

What was demanded of them was a radical transformation. As Gollwitzer says, “That
which was certain has become doubtful, and that which was doubtful has become
very sure.” They were certain Jesus was dead, but now it was doubtful. They were
certain death was stronger than God but now it is doubtful. They were certain “nice
guys finish last” and “might makes right”, but these and all those other worldly wise
views of reality are now doubtful.

And on the other side, their doubts became certainties. They doubted the stone could
be rolled away (Mark 16:3), but now they know it can be. They doubted there were
any cracks in the universal reign of death, but now they know the cracks are there.
They doubted God’s power on earth, but now they are sure of God’s power. Yes, a
remarkable transformation took place. Christian friends, we are to live in light of that
Easter transformation and in the power of that transformation!

Grace and peace,