by Rev. Dr. Rick Bunker
1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
– Exodus 15:1-2 (ESV)
We have just recently celebrated Easter and Passover, Orthodox Christians will celebrate Easter on May 2nd this year, so for some this celebration is still to come. For me I am happy to celebrate Easter twice this year, and both the events we remember on Passover and Easter are still at the top of my thoughts.
It is so good that these holydays are celebrated each year. It is such a blessing to remind ourselves of the great things that God has done in the past to be a strength and salvation for us. The historicity of the Passover and the Resurrection is very compelling.
Egypt was a singular superpower, in the days of Moses, a singularity unlike any that had previously or perhaps since been seen. The devastating effect of the year of the 10 plagues, and the damage to the army at the Red Sea was world news even without newspapers, cable tv, or the internet. The Apostle Paul refers to these events in the New Testament without explanation and it seems that there was a common knowledge of the events surrounding the deliverance of Israel from the superpower Egypt.
Many of the Psalms declare the great work God performed in delivering the Israelites from Egypt. That is one of the reasons scholars say that just by knowing well the Psalms, one can know all the most important events of the Bible.
The best literary scholars are impressed by the profound differences between the Bible and other mythical and religious texts. One is the archaeological testimony. There are clearly referenced places that are listed so that the reader can investigate the story. God never asks us to blindly believe. The Judeo-Christian faith is one that invites investigation so that the believer can have a firm faith.
The events surrounding Easter, while embarrassing for the disciples who are our leaders, are also reasons that the story is believable. Peter the leader of the disciples followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest but would not even admit to being a disciple of Jesus, and then Jesus is crucified with only John and the women there. The disciples are afraid to be seen.
They all change. After Easter they are no longer paralyzed with fear. Why – because they see the resurrected Jesus. All, except Thomas, perhaps my favorite disciple. Thomas was not there when the other disciples saw Jesus, and he will not believe the other disciples. Thomas needed to know for himself, and he does. Thomas finally sees Jesus and he is transformed from fearful to faithful. There are many, many more reasons to believe…….
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. – 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 (ESV)