If it were only a fairytale story… things would have been so much easier.
No one feels obligated to defend a fairytale. No one feels obligated to commit their lives to a fairytale.
Jesus’ followers were all but scattered and defeated after his death. Like so many ‘revolutionary’ groups… they were swatted down and disbanded when the rule of Rome crucified Jesus.
But as we turn to look and reflect on the true story as it was told… a man named Luke ‘took the bull by the horns’ and told the story like it really was. And by doing so, he laid the foundation for people (both those who were there to see Jesus resurrected as well as those who came after) to step out in faith:
In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:1-3)
The Scripture above is how he opens the Book of Acts… the story of how people LIVED out the Easter faith that Jesus was really alive. Notice he doesn’t begin with “once upon a time” or “a long time ago in a galaxy far far away”, like some fairytale. Instead, he begins with “I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught… from the beginning until the day he was taken up to heaven”. Luke was a physician by trade, a scientist, and concerned with facts.
The anchor of his writings have served the faith for thousands of years (read Luke’s Gospel and Acts), and for those of us who are just starting to consider the journey of faith, we must make an important choice at the outset: is this stuff real… or just fairytale.
Oftentimes, the actual words can be taken either way… I mean who is to say if what someone says is true or fantasy. But, when we look at the circumstances of the followers of Jesus we find that there was very little incentive to lie (in fact most depictions of Jesus followers in the Gospels are quite unflattering and unlikely to have been fabricated).
In short, these folks do not seem to have been ‘staring at the sky’ looking for fairy-tales, but rather, trying to work through a miracle they didn’t quite understand.
We have that same choice today: look for fairytales… or work through a difficult, but real, miracle.