I do not deny that these are tragic and heart-rending—situations that compel our compassion. But a greater Easter tragedy happens every year. It’s subtle and rarely receives mention. It’s personal, occurring in hearts. It is the heart that fails to embrace the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I see this tragedy in three groups of people.
Ever since the first Easter morning, there have been those who have denied the resurrection of Christ. Paul met some of them as he preached on Mars Hill in Athens, where they scoffed when he mentioned the resurrection (Acts 17:32). He met it again when standing before Festus, who by his own admission could not sort out religious questions, especially those involving the resurrection (Acts 25:19-20).
Deniers still exist today in the form of atheists and skeptics. Since the resurrection cannot be explained by science, to them it is ludicrous. The deniers are increasing in our society and are slowly gaining control of the institutions that shape our culture: the schools, the media, and the entertainment industry. This is a tragedy.
Those who Ignore the Resurrection
The Jewish leaders, who had condemned Jesus to death and ensured that His tomb would be guarded, were well informed of Christ’s resurrection. The guards ran and told them; the leaders never denied that the tomb was empty. They simply ignored it. Pretended it didn’t happen. They circulated a lie about the body being stolen (Matthew 28:11-15). Interestingly, this argument was never brought up during the confrontations between the Jewish leaders and the apostles in the Book of Acts. The subject was just ignored.
I see many in this category today. They are not scoffers; they wouldn’t join the rank of atheists. They know the story of Jesus, but they ignore it. They have not placed their personal faith in Christ as their Savior. It’s as if they pretend that this matter of heaven and hell, sin and salvation doesn’t exist. That it will all work out in the end. This is a tragedy.
Those who are Unchanged by the Resurrection
Finally, there are those who knew of the resurrection but were never changed by it. The Scripture says that when Christ arose, an angel from heaven came down and rolled the stone away. The earth shook, and the guards did, too. They were not asleep but afraid (Matthew 28:2-4). Yet, we are not told that any of those men became followers of Christ. They were eyewitnesses but unchanged.
This may be the most tragic group of all, and they are still with us. There are many today who claim to believe in Christ’s resurrection, but their lives are unchanged. What a contrast from Jesus’ disciples! When Christ was crucified, they cowered in fear. After He rose from the dead, they preached boldly until they lost their lives.
But today so many who call themselves “Christians” are not only unwilling to be outspoken for Christ, they won’t even be faithful to Him. The Church celebrates the resurrection of Christ every Sunday; it’s why we meet on Sunday. But many so-called followers of Christ are rarely there. They say they believe in the resurrection, but it hasn’t changed their lives. This is a great tragedy.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is one of the most significant events of all human history. It is not only irrefutable and unable to be ignored; it is life changing for those who truly follow Christ. This year don’t be part of the Easter Tragedy. By faith, discover the Easter Transformation by committing your life wholeheartedly to Jesus Christ. --Wayne P. Cooper