Hereford Times Article - Resurrection and emerging from Covid

Published on: 6th April 2021

Image of Bishop Richard Jackson standing besides an apple tree

"Certain parts of the Bible are meant to be read metaphorically. Other bits clearly are not"


As we start to emerge from COVID restrictions, it feels a bit like a resurrection.  Spring is here and suddenly new possibilities open up.  It used to be standard practice on Easter religious broadcasts to roll out a Bishop to cast doubt on the bodily resurrection of Jesus. One of my early 20th century predecessors said he was agnostic about it.  A former Bishop of Durham called it conjuring tricks with bones, although his cathedral was struck by lightning shortly after he said it, which was a bit spooky. People have said to me that their faith would not be affected hugely if they dug Jesus’ bones up in Jerusalem. Isn’t it one of those hard to believe hoops you have to jump through to call yourself a Christian?

I grant you it’s hard to believe, but that’s because dead people don’t come back to life again (as Professor Alice Roberts rightly said in a tweet over Easter weekend), not because the evidence for it really happening isn’t quite compelling. Certain parts of the Bible are meant to be read metaphorically, like for example stories of creating the world in 7 days. Other bits clearly are not, the resurrection of Jesus being one of them.

I used to work as an agronomist and if I did not believe, the resurrection was true I would have stuck with it.  The pay was better; I got longer holidays and less grumpy letters.  However, when I was a 16-year-old atheist, I started to look into it with an open mind.  Minds much greater than mine have done the same and ended up a Christian like I have.   It may be hard to believe, but the whole Christian faith stands or falls on whether it is true or not.  When the first disciples started spreading the word, they did it as eyewitness testimony.  “We saw him killed,” they said, “and we’ve now seen him alive again, but more alive than he ever was before: a different type of life; a life that feels like eternity has broken into this one”. For 2000 years that testimony of experience has continued.  Christians today continue to celebrate that Jesus is alive and that changes everything.  Although Easter Sunday was a few weeks ago, Christians carry on celebrating it for 6 weeks afterwards. Our hope is based on it.



Powered by Church Edit