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TONY ELDER: Evidence of the Resurrection lives as love in our hearts

"It just can't be."

"What can't be?"

"Well, you can't be. You're gone."

"I was gone, but I came back."

"But you can't come back... not after you're gone. It just ain't decent."

The preceding dialogue was taken from an early episode of "The Andy Griffith Show". Sheriff Andy Taylor had been surprised by a visit from a former resident of Mayberry, a man named Tom Silby.

The reason this encounter was especially unnerving to the small town sheriff is because, as he remarked, he hadn't seen Tom in a long time, not since his funeral. Now that you know the context of their conversation, maybe it makes a little more sense.

As the two men continued to talk, the whole story came to light. It seemed that Tom had left his wife a couple of years earlier. However, unbeknownst to him, she had been too proud to admit that fact to anyone. Instead she concocted some tale about Tom having gone out of town where he supposedly had been run over and killed by a taxi.

She had proceeded to have a nice funeral for him and had been pretending to be a grieving widow ever since.

I guess it would be startling to run into someone whose funeral you had attended. After all, as Andy said, when you're gone you can't come back. Of course, as it turned out, Tom had never left this world in the first place.

But there is Someone else who actually did leave and come back. And that's what we celebrate here at Easter.

I wonder if anyone had a similar conversation with Jesus after His resurrection. If so, I'm fairly certain it was without the Southern dialect which was so prevalent in Mayberry, although as you read the writings of the Apostle Paul, you find that he did have a penchant for using the phrase "you all".

I can imagine someone confronting the resurrected Christ with the declaration, "it just can't be." Maybe it was someone who had witnessed His crucifixion, seeing the bruised and bleeding Jesus take his last breath. Or maybe it was someone who had seen His body wrapped up and laid in the tomb.

They knew without a shadow of a doubt that He was dead. But here He was -- He had come back.

The resurrection of Jesus was a unique event. It testified to the fact that Jesus Himself was Someone unique -- the very Son of God. Normally this was an occurrence that couldn't be. It wasn't possible. Dead people don't come back.

But Jesus wasn't a normal person. His death wasn't just another death. He died as the sacrifice for our sins and then rose again as the victorious Savior of the world.

To top it off, His resurrection gives us the assurance that we're going to come back too. We're not going to pop up in this world again after we die, but one day we are going to be resurrected. Jesus said, "all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth -- those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:28-29).

I know there are still people today who would say "it just can't be" concerning the resurrection of Jesus. But the evidence for it is overwhelming.

You can experience the most convincing evidence of all by putting your trust in the living Christ as your Savior. As the old hymn says, "You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart."

If Jesus is knocking on the door of your heart, let Him in. You'll discover that it can be -- He really did come back from the grave.

The Rev. Tony W. Elder is pastor of Wesley Community Fellowship Church. He can be reached at 770-483-3405 or by email at RevTElder@aol.com.