Last week’s letter from David Brock extols the literature of D. H. Lawrence and in particular Lawrence’s story The Man who Died.
David speaks of the great writers ‘beautiful and unusual account of the resurrection of Jesus’ and recounts in detail how ‘Jesus emerges from the tomb dazed and wounded but slowly coming back to life and realising he has been taken down from the cross too early’.
Of course, DH Lawrence took his inspiration from the Bible account of the resurrection of Christ but his fiction turns- on-its-head the true account of the resurrection, which was attested and recorded by witnesses of the time.
Down through history many celebrated writers have attempted to dismantle and discredit the Easter story with the ‘Swoon theory’.
All their attempts fall to the ground when we examine the grave-yard security.
The tomb of Christ was effectively blockaded by the authorities.
There was the seal of Rome on the entrance stone; a bit like crime-scene tape reading ‘police line – do not cross’.
Furthermore, elite soldiers were guarding the plot to prevent intrusion and extrusion; any dereliction of duty could result in court-martial and punishment by death.
So the assumption that Jesus or his disciples could come-and-go as they pleased is false; the garden tomb was effectively, cordoned-off, a `no-go area’ for civilians.
Then again, Jesus could never have left the tomb without outside help! The tomb entrance was blocked by a huge millstone; Jesus had had no sustenance for two/three days, he suffered two inhuman floggings, then loss of blood through nail pieced limbs and finally a spear thrust into his side – why he could barely have staggered beyond his grave entrance before the soldiers would be upon him to prevent any escape.
Certainly his disciples were no help to Jesus – quite apart from the small matter of the SAS patrols at the tomb they were, like ‘rabbits in the headlights’, petrified and only concerned to save their own skins!Finally, after his supposed escape Jesus would have been top of the most wanted list, yet, intriguingly, there is no record that the authorities mounted any search and destroy mission for this revolutionary prophet who threatened the stability of Roman-occupied Israel.
For multitudes of Christians on the earth, the former ‘saviour of the world’ is still, actually, the present saviour of the world, as voiced by the ongoing testimonies of the millions whose lives have been changed through faith in their resurrected Saviour, Jesus Christ.