Come and See. Then Go and Tell.

The evidence for the resurrection is clear for all who want to see it.

When the angel told the women going to visit the tomb, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6 NIV), it was a public invitation. The empty tomb was there for all who wanted to come and see it.

So, why didn’t everyone come and see?

Many of those who heard about the resurrection—like the soldiers and Pilate—treated it with indifference and never took time to examine it. Pilate flat out said, “The question is not that concerning to me right now.” It seemed like a religious curiosity, and he just wasn’t that religious of a person; and, furthermore, his life was consumed with more pressing matters, like how to run the government, collect taxes, keep the peace, and make his boss happy. It’s not that he investigated the evidence and found it lacking; he just wasn’t that motivated to investigate it in the first place.

This is where I find most people still are today. There are very few who really consider the evidence for the resurrection and leave unconvinced. Most never lean into the question because it’s just not that pressing to them.

But why did some, like the earliest disciples, find the resurrection so essential that they risked their lives to tell others about it? What did they come and see that others didn’t?

For the disciples, everything in their world had been turned upside down with the death of Jesus. If the man they had been following for three years was really dead, then it meant all their hopes for the future were gone and they had wasted their lives. But if he was resurrected, it changed everything. It meant that they had a reason to live after all. Even more, he was the only thing worth living for. If he resurrected, his death on the cross really was the payment for their sins, like he had said. It meant that they didn’t have to be afraid of death. Earthly things need no longer be their primary concern; what mattered was where they stood with him and what they were doing for his eternal kingdom.

Like Pilate, most people today respond to the story of the resurrection with a “meh.” There’s never been an urgency behind whether or not to consider it.

But now, with the coronavirus, life looks a bit different. Many are realizing how fragile life actually is, how near and close death can be. And if our only hope is in a medical system, or our health, or our jobs, or what we have in the bank, or our national security, then we’re on shaky ground.

A time like this makes us realize the brazen stupidity of living as if 80 years of earthly life are all that matter, with no thoughts about death or the judgment or what comes next.

Perhaps we are finally in a place where we are ready to come to the tomb and see for ourselves.

I don’t know what the days ahead will look like. Projections about the coronavirus’ impact—both in terms of health and economic strain—vary wildly. But here’s what I do know: Playing the odds isn’t an avenue for hope. Hanging my hopes on staying healthy won’t do the trick.

Why? Because regardless of the coronavirus statistics, this stat stands out to me: The death rate of every person on Earth holds steady at 100 percent.

God is shaking our physical foundations, and for many, he may be letting us experience a temporary tragedy in order to wake us up to a far more serious tragedy—an eternal one: the tragedy of dying without God.

I want to be clear: God is not pleased with the pain that the coronavirus has wrought on our world. That pain is a result of the curse and it breaks God’s heart.

But even though we are currently experiencing part of the curse, Scripture teaches us that God can still use the temporary affliction of the body to wake us up to the eternal needs of the soul.

Our world is no place to build a life because it’s under judgment for sin. No foundation we look for here will last. Once we come and see the resurrection of Christ, we’ll find the Rock, in whom our souls find the hope we’ve been looking for.

Come and see. Then, go and tell.

Originally posted here.

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J. D. Greear

J.D. Greear is the pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of several books including Gaining by Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches That Send.

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