Technology has certainly changed the way we send and receive messages. When my father was eighteen years old, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served as a Morse code operator on a Navy Frigate during the Korean War. To send important wartime messages, he used the technology invented by Samuel Morse in the 1830s made up of dots and dashes assigned to each letter of the alphabet.
Later, Morse and other inventors developed the telegraph that revolutionized long-distance communication. It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between two stations. A young women provided the words to the first telegraph Morse sent in 1844 from Washington D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland. The message contained only four words. Do you remember from your history class what they were?
“What hath God wrought?”
Since then, advances in communication technology have given us the telephone, fax machines, email, the Internet, and now text messaging. Today, we can send a message instantly to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Two thousand years ago, the most important news to ever reach mankind traveled quickly and without the help of technology. Three simple but profound words changed the world forever, and it also changed the eternal destiny of those who believe. Those words were spoken by an angel of the Lord to a small gathering of grieving women. The heavenly messenger said in plain language so there was no misunderstanding,
“He is risen.”
After the words sank into their own hearts and gave birth to a new hope, the women could not run fast enough to tell the others in their small and fractured faith community. Imagine if they had cell phones and the ability to send a text message to all their friends. But even if they did, nothing could replace face-to-face human communication when telling such good news. Let’s go to Mark’s gospel to recall the story in greater detail.
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8
Mark’s gospel is the earliest and most primitive account of the resurrection by at least a decade before the others were written. He gives us enough detail to stand just as amazed as Jesus’s early followers did. Think about it. How did twelve ragtag disciples multiply into a movement where today one-third of the world’s population identifies as Christian? The answer is the resurrection! No other event in history comes close to impacting the world as much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It literally split our calendar into A.D. and B.C.
Jesus never wrote a book. In fact, He never wrote anything down. And yet, there are more books and articles written about Him (even tweets) than any other subject in history. Jesus never composed a song or created a sculpture. And yet, He has inspired more art than anybody else in history. Furthermore, Jesus never traveled more than 100 miles from His hometown of Nazareth. And yet, today His followers can be found in every place on the planet. The resurrection is the only explanation for this.