Derry’s Church of Ireland Bishop has used his Easter message to speak of the “very practical and very personal consequences” of Christ’s resurrection.
Bishop Ken Good said Easter “brings us face to face with an issue of enormous significance, is death the end, or does life continue beyond the grave?”
He said:” Professor C E M Joad, an eminent philosopher, author and popular broadcasting personality, was aware of the significance of what was at stake on this question. For much of his life he described himself as an agnostic on matters of faith and religious belief and he argued his case colourfully and entertainingly. However, he was once asked if he could choose to meet any person from the past and ask them just one question, who would he want to meet and what question would he want to ask them.
“The learned professor’s immediate response was, ‘I would meet Jesus Christ and ask him the most important question in the world, ”Did you or did you not rise from the dead?”
Bishop Good said despite his scepticism, Joad identified the death and resurrection of Jesus as pivotal in this life and death issue.
“So convinced were Jesus’ disciples that their Master had risen from the dead that they were willing to take the most courageous and outrageous risks to their own personal safety in order to let others know about his resurrection throughout their known world.”
“This is not just a philosophical issue or a theoretical notion about which to argue. It has very practical and very personal consequences for every one of us.
“It is worth noting that the point came in Professor Joad’s life when he recovered his Christian faith – as recounted in his last book, The Recovery of Belief - and became convinced that the evidence for accepting the truth of Jesus’ resurrection was stronger than the arguments against it,” he said.