The name and escapades of Harry Houdini are familiar to most of us. He was a magician whose claim to fame was especially associated with spectacular escapes from what would seem to be impossible situations. It is said that he laughed at locks and sneered at fetters, and that he had the flexibility of an eel and the lives of a cat.
Those who desired to challenge his capabilities manufactured all types of contraptions in an attempt to incarcerate him. He was sealed in a coffin and sewn into canvas bags; secured with iron chains and locks; they even locked him in a milk can. But every time he escaped. They sealed him in a beer barrel only to see him set himself free. They even put him in a maximum security prison but somehow old Harry still managed to work his way to freedom.
Harry was so confident in his own talents that he had told his wife if there was any way to come back after death, he would find it. He actually informed her he would try to make contact with her on the anniversary of his death. Then in October of 1926 old man death laid his hands on Harry Houdini and put him in a grave. For the next ten years, his wife kept a light burning over his portrait, expecting the great master would find a way to escape the clutches of the grim reaper! But at the end of those 10 years, she despondently turned the light out. She had come to realize Death had Houdini, and this time he wasn’t going to escape.
Death also laid its hands on Jesus. Death put Him in a rock hewn tomb, which was then further affirmed by the seal of the Roman government. But, despite these “official” pronouncements, on the 3rd day Jesus stirred Himself, and He arose, victorious over Death! He left behind the grave clothes that were wrapped around His lifeless body, and He arose! The stone in front of the tomb had been rolled away, but not so much as to let Jesus out; no, it was moved to show the disciples He was no longer swallowed up by Death, but that He had triumphed over Death!
Easter is the greatest time for believers. As the Apostle Paul clearly emphasizes in 1 Corinthians 15, it is the salient point upon which Christianity is established, and provided the early Christians the impetus to “turn the world upside down”, as they proclaimed “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”
I trust that, as a Christian, your life was changed because of the resurrection. And I trust that the truth of the risen Christ lives all year long in your heart. Jesus did what no other could do, not even the great Houdini; He triumphed over Death. This is the foundational hope of the Christian faith, for as the scriptures say, “because He lives, we also shall live”.
See ya Sunday!