There was a time when members of the police were looking for me.
I was unaware of it, but local radio stations had been broadcasting messages all afternoon, asking listeners to let the boys in blue know if they were aware of my whereabouts.
“Reginald Nicholson is believed to be holidaying somewhere in the Rotorua area,” the broadcasts said. “If you know where he is, please telephone your nearest police station.”
I have to report that in their efficient manner, the cops managed to find me reasonably quickly. They discovered I was staying at a Rotorua hotel. And that evening, as I was sitting at a dining table awaiting dinner, a maid came and quietly told me: “Two gentlemen are in the hotel lobby wanting to see you.”
I was intrigued. I had not given anyone my address. So who could they be? When I discovered the gentlemen in question were members of the police force, my first reaction was to smile at the tact of the maid.
For all she knew, I could have been a violent criminal. If so, I might have raced to another exit rather than face the waiting policemen.
When I neared the two uniformed men, I grew more serious.
“What have I done?” I thought. “I haven’t robbed anyone. Haven’t been in an accident. I’ve paid my taxes. Haven’t molested anyone. Even my library books are all up-to-date….”
It was with great sadness that I heard the reason the police had been searching for me. My father, a man just over 50 years old, had died unexpectedly of a heart-attack. Members of my family in Hamilton needed me to return home.
This all happened many years ago. But this morning I am reminded that down the ages people of all sorts—not just the police—have been searching for someone whose body seemed to have disappeared.
“The Case of the Missing Body”, Agatha Christie might have called Easter Day. Down the centuries, sceptics of all ages have tried to explain things away. “What happened to the body of Jesus?” people have been asking. “Where did he go? Where is he now?”
We can’t “explain” a resurrection. Resurrection explains us. The early followers of Jesus were not fools. They knew dead men don’t rise.
Yet the resurrection of Jesus is the central historical event in the Christian faith. Without the resurrection there would be no Christianity. “If Christ has not been raised,” wrote St. Paul, “then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:14).