Faith because of Easter
This morning at sunrise I walked around the lake at Sale Water Park as the morning sky declared the beauty of another new day. I’m not an accomplished singer so I didn’t sing aloud, but my heart sang a song of praise and thanks to God for giving me a glimpse of his handiwork. Today is Easter Sunday and normally people would be gathering by the lakeside to hold a sunrise service and celebrate their faith of Jesus Christ raised to life. The celebration would include sharing the sacrament of Holy Communion, the meal Jesus gave us that we might remember him.
The bible has a story of fishermen spending all night on the lake unsuccessfully trying to catch fish. They were tired and despondent having worked all night and caught nothing. As they wearily made their way back to shore at sunrise, they were greeted by a stranger standing on the beach. He suggested that they lower their nets on the other side of the boat, which they did - and got a huge catch of fish.
Then one of the fishermen realised that this man on the beach was none other than Jesus. Jumping into the water, Peter swam ashore as the others dragged the fully laden nets onto the shoreline. As they sat round a fire Jesus had lit for them, they shared a meal together and in their hearts, they now knew all was well.
Water played a big part in the life of Jesus and his followers; it was the disciples’ experience of Jesus walking on water that caused them to proclaim, ‘Truly you are the Son of God’. Jesus taught crowds of people from a boat, he had calmed the stormy waters and finally he is by the lakeside eating a meal with the fishermen who were his friends. The critical difference, is that a few days before these fishermen had seen Jesus crucified and buried in a tomb: now they are eating round a fire with a man who had most definitely died.
This isn’t the only story of Jesus being alive; there were other occasions where Jesus appeared to hundreds of people in a physical state. Those fishermen knew that Jesus was a good man, a good teacher, but meeting Jesus by the lake changed everything. They had heard Jesus say he was the Son of God… now they knew for sure that Jesus Christ was truly the Son of God. Their lives would never be the same again.
In his book, The Normal Christian Faith, Watchman Nee puts forward the possible responses to Jesus’ claim to be the son of God. His argument is set out below:
“It is not a light thing to claim to be God. A person who makes such a claim falls into one of three categories. He must belong to one of these three categories; he cannot belong to all three.
First, if he claims to be God and yet in fact is not, he has to be a madman or a lunatic.
Second, if he is neither God nor a lunatic, he has to be a liar, deceiving others by his lie.
Third, if he is neither of these, he must be God.
You can only choose one of the three possibilities. If you do not believe that he is God, you have to consider him a madman. If you cannot take him for either of the two, you have to take him for a liar. There is no need for us to prove if Jesus of Nazareth is God or not. All we have to do is find out if He is a lunatic or a liar. If He is neither, He must be the Son of God. These are our three choices.
There is no fourth.”
As I made my way home contemplating the experiences of the fishermen by the lake of Galilee, I thanked God for the times in my own life when God has given me a glimpse of his glory.
Lovingly He greets us, Scatters fear and gloom; Let the church with gladness, Hymns of triumph sing;
For her Lord now liveth, Death hath lost its sting.
Thine be the glory, Risen conquering Son, Endless is the victory, Thou o'er death hast won.
Hymn – Thine be the glory