Is history’s most compelling event the opening night of Private Lives?
I love words and old stuff, so I listen to a BBC radio program from the last century called My Word! Panelists are quizzed on words, literature, and the like. In one episode, the panelists were asked, If you could be present at any historical event, which one would you choose?
Dilys wished she could have witnessed the moment when Stanley found Livingstone. We know about the famous “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Dilys was dying to know whether Livingstone replied with something such as, “Did you have a good journey?”
Dennis would be present at the opening night of Noël Coward’s Private Lives. The play has garnered popularity over the years and is still produced, and Dennis wondered whether he would recognize its greatness at its premiere.
Frank wanted to have been there when the cities of the plain were destroyed so that he could see exactly what they did in Sodom and Gomorrah that warranted fire and brimstone. That made the audience giggle.
Antonia agreed with Frank that the Bible is full of irresistible episodes, and she would have chosen to be there when the Red Sea parted and the children of Israel escaped from the pursuing Egyptian army. She would choose that event because she loves to travel and likes the idea of crossing an international border without the bother of passports, customs, and immigration checks.
Perhaps the panelists weren’t going for significance and gravity but rather for humor and levity and even quirkiness. Maybe they didn’t want to get too heavy or religious. I can understand that. If that’s what we’re going for, I’ll pick that moment in 2737 BC, when Camellia sinensis leaves blew into the water that Chinese emperor Shen Nung’s servant was boiling for him. Let there be tea!
History’s most compelling event (IMO)
If we’re being completely serious, I’ll choose the resurrection of Jesus. How amazing would that be to witness?! Granted, not everyone believes that this event happened. But, here’s something that is definitive about this event: If it happened, it is of utmost significance to us all. The veracity of the entire Bible — all that it claims — hinges on the veracity of Jesus’s resurrection. That includes the hope of eternal life and the end of suffering.
Let’s say that someone claims that a squadron of alien spaceships has just entered earth’s atmosphere. If that’s true, it is of utmost significance to us all. What’s the first thing we should do? Look for evidence to determine whether it’s true. Are there unusual lights in the sky? Is NASA taking it seriously? If we find evidence to support the claim, we should Google “alien invasion handbook”. If not, we should go back to our cup of tea.
This is how we should handle a claim that, if it is true, is of utmost significance to us all. There is evidence to support the claim that Jesus rose from the dead. We would be wise to follow the evidence and see where it leads. For me, it adds up to proof. I don’t say this lightly, and I’ve been able to say it only recently.
Do you know any of the evidence? You might know more than you realize. For example, you know that millions of people believe that Jesus rose from the dead; there must be reasons why they do. You know that a movement that has circled the globe and lasted nearly 2,000 years is based on a claim that people knew for a fact was either the truth or a lie. If it had been a lie, the movement would have been squashed before it got going. The first Christians were operating on fact, not faith.
The claim of Jesus’s resurrection deserves investigation because there is evidence for it and because, if it’s true, it’s of utmost significance to us all. If Jesus rose from the dead, we too can be resurrected to eternal life. Our future just might depend on history.
If you could be present at any historical event, which one would you choose? It’s fun to think about, and it provides perspective. You know what’s even better? Realizing that the future holds far more. I missed out on being there for the greatest events of history, but I plan on being there for the greatest events of the future. See you there?