The women rose at sunrise, gathered their supplies and walked solemnly toward the tomb. I like to imagine it was a gorgeous sunrise, but the women were most likely too miserable to notice. All of a sudden, there was an earthquake, and a fierce-looking angel appeared. Even the Roman soldiers guarding the tomb, the most capable warriors on the face of the earth at the time, trembled in fear.
The angel spoke to the women, saying "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.'" (Matthew 28:5-7)
I bet the women were confused. I bet they were scared. I bet they weren't quite sure what to think. No one had ever been dead for three days and come back to life. Yet, the most amazing part was yet to come. On their way back to talk to the disciples, Jesus appeared to them. Standing in front of them was the man they had seen die on the cross, yet here He was in the flesh.
Can you imagine the joy? Can you imagine the confusion? I can only imagine that the women may have kept pinching themselves to make sure they were awake. The tomb was empty. Jesus was alive!
It's a pretty fantastic story, isn't it? And it's one that can seem fantastic to our kids. With the constant blurring between reality and fiction in our world today, it can be tough for our kids to discern truth. The resurrection account honestly sounds a lot like some comic book stories or fantasy novels that my kids have read. So, how do we get our kids to focus on the truth of Easter? How do we let them know that the biblical account of the resurrection is not just another story they've heard, but something that really happened?
- Treat it like it's the truth. We've quit using the word "story" to refer to anything in the Bible. When we talk about "Bible stories" with our kids, we're lumping them together with fairy tales, fiction books and things our kids make up. When you're talking about something in the Bible refer to it as an "account" or ask your kids "What did you learn about in the Bible today?" instead of "What Bible story did you talk about?" This is a small change, but it's one that creates a subtle distinction between the Bible and fiction.
- Don't be afraid to investigate it. The Bible claims to be the truth. If that's so, then it will stand up to scrutiny. Talk with your kids about how people have come up with other explanations for the resurrection. Talk about how realistic those other explanations are and whether those explanations account for the known facts. Teach your kids how to defend what they believe by investigating the Bible. It will always hold up.
- Offer your kids proof of the Bible's trustworthiness. Over and over again, the Bible predicts things that will happen. And over and over again, those things have happened. The events of the Bible also didn't happen in a vacuum. They happened in the context of history, and historical evidence backs up many of them. Point this out to your kids. Find a few specific examples, including the fact that almost all New Testament scholars -- Christian and non-Christian -- believe that the tomb was empty.
Our kids need to know that the Bible is true. They need to know that the account of Jesus' death and resurrection isn't just another tale about a guy with superhero powers. They need to know that the tomb was empty, and its emptiness is the reason for our hope. Help your kids see that the Bible is true so that the resurrection becomes real to them.