G Sam Piatt
PDT Outdoors Columnist
One day earlier this week I stood at the top of a lonely Carter County ridge at dawn and gave a couple of calls on a crow call.
“Caw, caw-w-w-w-w. Caw, caw-w-w-w-w.”
From a flat just under the ridge two gobblers sounded off, confirming my suspicion. This was where the flock was roosting, and it’s there that I plan to be set up in camouflage and giving a few hen clucks on my box call when Kentucky’s spring wild turkey season opens April 15, one-half hour before sunrise.
It wasn’t until I reached the point of the ridge to start down, mulling over in my mind just how I would prepare this fine turkey breast, that I discovered the small, long-neglected cemetery. A tombstone stood among briars and saplings. The inscriptions on it told me a husband and wife lay buried here. “Loving father. Loving mother.”
For 85 years they have waited for the resurrection.
Smaller stones marked the graves of two children. There was evidence of other graves, unmarked, scattered about.
Driving home, I turned on the truck radio and heard Zeke playing an old song about, “The family who prays shall never be parted, their circle unbroken in Heaven shall stand.”
Having time on my hands, I drove to the cemetery and visited the graves of my father, mother, sister and brother.
With Easter Sunday approaching, my mind dwelt on the timeless questions: Did Jesus Christ really rise from the dead? Is there life for us beyond the grave?
CHANGE OF HEART
The Apostle Paul, who persecuted the early Christians before he himself became a believer, tells us, “… Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
“That he appeared to more than 500 brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”
Luke, the physician, who was not one of the apostles, took up his pen some 25 years after Christ’s Ascension and undertook “to compile a narrative of the things which have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you…that you may know the truth.”
In his other writing, the Book of Acts, he wrote, “To them (the apostles) he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them 40 days, and speaking to the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus was dead when they took him down from the cross. The Scriptures say he had given up the spirit. They laid His body in a tomb, sealed it, and posted a guard.
WHERE’S THE BODY?
Those who came to the spot early on the first day of the week found the stone rolled back, the tomb empty.
The Roman guards, when they told the religious leaders what had taken place, were given money to spread the story that the disciples had come by night and stolen the body while they slept.
But after the disciples had seen Jesus beaten and hung on the cross to die, they cowered behind locked doors.
Then, after they saw the resurrected Christ and watched him ascend “to prepare a place,” they turned that part of the world upside down with their bold testimonies.
You know as well as I that there is no way they would have spread the Gospel for a liar, an impostor, a dead man.
BELIEVETH THOU THIS?
Jesus told Martha, the sister of Lazarus, whom he was about to raise from the dead after he had been four days in the grave, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that liveth and believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. Believeth thou this?”
My folks who have gone on did. So have many of yours, more than you might realize.
The empty tomb is the standard that separates Christianity from all of the other paths men have sought to follow in seeking their Creator and the hoped-for life beyond the grave.
The scriptures promise a great family celebration – a reunion – yet to come. Our loved ones who have gone on, with their faith in Christ, have already discovered what lies beyond the veil. I don’t believe they can see what’s going on back here on earth, but I believe they are filled with great anticipation of this coming event.
The scriptures tell us that when humans die the body returns to the dust, “but the spirit to God who gave it.”
Where are they now, those who died with their faith and trust firmly fixed on Christ? The Bible tells us they are hidden in Christ with God, and when Christ returns he will bring them with him, to be united with a resurrection body.
The Holy Writ tells us, “The God who raised the Lord from the dead will also raise us mortal men (and women) by his power.”
The Apostle Paul, in I Cor. Ch. 15, speaking of believers, tells us, “…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we (believers who remain alive at the time) shall be changed.”
Officials sought to slay the apostles to stop their preaching of the Resurrection. Gamaliel, an eminent doctor of the law, stood up in the midst of the council and urged judicious caution on the grounds that if the new doctrine was of God they could not overthrow it. If it were of man, it would perish of itself.
The doctrine has not perished.
He is risen!
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (606) 932-3619 or Gsamwriter@windstream.net.