Saturday, April 4, 2015

Three amazing and unbelievable things about Easter

Today I am giving a talk at our churches' Easter Eggstravaganza, an event for children and families. Here is the talk.

Just because something is hard to believe does not mean that it is not true. My experience as a scientist tells me that. Many scientific discoveries have been unexpected, surprising, and go against what people thought was common sense.
[Aside: for adults interested in science: examples include Schrodinger's cat (quantum entanglement), the Big Bang, Dark matter,...]
I still find some of these things hard to believe.

I will now do a simple science experiment to show this. Putting a skewer through a balloon and putting a flame on a balloon containing a small amount of water.

At Easter Christians celebrate the death and the resurrection of Jesus.
Here are three things that many people rightly find hard to believe about Easter.

Could an all powerful God die on a cross?
Can God really forgive sins?
Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Is that possible?

I find these three things amazing.

1. Could an all powerful God die on a cross?

The Bible tells us that Jesus was God's Son. God the Father and Jesus together made the whole universe. They both rule over it. Jesus was powerful. He could heal sick people, know what people were thinking, and walk on water. He taught about what God was really like, because He really knew God as His Father.
Yet if Jesus was so strong and powerful how could he be so weak and powerless that he allowed his enemies to falsely accuse him of wrongdoing and to kill him on a cross, a terribly painful and embarrassing death? Couldn't he stop them? He could not save himself. How could he claim to save others?

2.  Can God really forgive any and every wrong that someone has done?

Jesus told an interesting story about this. In the Bible you can find it in Matthew 19. There was a rich young man who really wanted to go to heaven. He told Jesus all the good things he had done in his life. But, Jesus asked him to do something that was very difficult for him: give away all his money. This was too hard for him. He loved his money more than he loved God. Indeed Jesus has very high standards. He wants us to be perfect. Jesus disciples, his 12 closest friends, wondered if anyone could be saved. It seemed no one could be good enough for Jesus or for God. In response, Jesus said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
Jesus death on the cross makes this possible. His suffering covers all of our failings and wrong doings.
This is fantastic news for us. It does not matter what we have done, God can forgive us, if we want to be forgiven.

3. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Is that possible?
That is a miracle. Can a scientist like me believe in miracles?

After all, history and experience tell us once people are dead they are dead forever. But just because we have not seen something happen does not mean that it can never happen. Again, God can make the impossible happen.

I then do the following simple science demonstration.
Consider an egg and a small bottle. Who thinks that this egg can fit in this bottle? Before I saw this happen I never thought it was possible.

Just because we think dead people stay dead forever, does not mean that Jesus did not rise from the dead. If God, the ruler of the universe, what it to happen it could. It did.

On Easter Sunday Christians celebrate Jesus' resurrection. Jesus conquered death, came to life and appeared to many eyewitnesses, and now lives forever.

So, tomorrow on Easter Sunday when you are eating all your yummy chocolate eggs think about this egg in the bottle. It doesn’t look too yummy. But it does illustrate that something can be true even if we don’t expect it to be. God is not constrained by the laws of nature us scientists know all about. Jesus really did rise from the dead. He has power over death and sin. What is impossible for man is possible for God. God raised Jesus from death to life. We can be forgiven and we can have the gift of eternal life.

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