Have you ever seen any kid who hates animated movies? I haven’t seen one yet. Most kids love watching them and I was not an exception. But there was no cable TV as such back then, so I always felt that I couldn’t watch enough. One day, I heard great news. In my church, a library newly opened and there was a bookshelf full of VCRs. I was exhilarated and since then, I came home with one or two VCRs every Sunday. I still clearly remember my favorite animated movie series that I rented from the library. It’s called “The Bible Time Travelers.” As the title tells, it’s about a group of children traveling back to the past by using their time machine. What they do is to find famous biblical figures and get to involve in their historical events. It was really fun to watch.
Recently, my fond memories of this animated movie occurred to me as I was reading today’s Gospel reading. Here we see again the disbelieving disciples who doubted Jesus’ resurrection even after they meet Jesus and see his wounds. How come they can’t believe in Jesus’ resurrection even after they meet him in person? I asked… and I thought, like the movie, if I were able to travel back and meet the resurrected Jesus in person like the disciples, I would definitely believe in the resurrection forever without any doubt. Why? Because then, I would really witness the resurrection as a historical event. But I know it’s impossible. And more importantly, I know it’s not necessary. It’s not necessary at all for me to prove the resurrection as a historical fact in order to believe it.
In every Easter season, you’d meet some people who always ask, “Did the resurrection really happen? How can you believe it’s really true?” And even we, the followers of Jesus Christ, can’t deny that some similar questions arise from deep inside of our minds. True, we sometimes doubt, and I think it’s natural. But today, I would like to share one wisdom with you, one wisdom we better remember whenever we encounter those questions regarding the historicity or factuality of the resurrection. And it’s very simple. That is, our faith doesn’t need historical verification to prove the authenticity of the resurrection. Faith is not like our knowledge. Our faith in the resurrection is very different from knowing about one plus one equals two or about Abraham Lincoln. Why? It’s because our faith is not a result of human reason or historical evidence. But it is the result of being personally met by the living Christ in our lives. The resurrected Jesus who comes to us and gives us new life here and now… no human knowledge can prove this holy mystery we experience.
Even though we don’t have to historically prove our faith, Christians, including myself, never deny that the resurrection was historically true. Look at the history of Christianity. Something must have happened. Something incredible must have happened and turned the disheartened, disillusioned, and fearful disciples crouching behind locked doors into the great apostles who preached, witnessed, suffered, and even died for the sake of Jesus and his good news. Something groundbreaking must have happened and intruded in among the life of Paul and early Christians and radically changed them and enabled them to endure all the persecutions and oppressions. 
But again, the wisdom we should remember today is… that our faith in the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t really need historical verification. How come? It’s because the resurrection of Jesus is still happening even now, and it will continuously happen in the future. Surely, it’s foolish to ask historical evidence for the live event that always happens in our hearts and in our church. Yes, the resurrected Christ is with us. Our Christian faith affirms that we died with him on the cross and we live again with him to the new life. Because he lives again, we can be the new creation redeemed by his love and grace. The resurrection happens in our lives, every time we die to ourselves and live for Christ, every time we empty our ego and embody Christ’s love, every time we deny our will and live out Christ’s will. Yes, the resurrection happens here and now. And we don’t need a time machine to meet our risen Lord. We can look into our hearts and see the risen Lord come to our lives, touch our hearts, grow our faith and empower us to love one another as he loves us. Within our hearts, he lives indeed.
Rev. Alfred H. Ackley, writer of the famous hymn, “He Lives,” was asked a question by a young Jewish student at a revival meeting.
The bold question was, “Why should I worship a dead Jew?” Rev. Ackley began to explain how that Jesus was alive. He said, “He Lives! I tell you; He is not dead, but lives here and now! Jesus Christ is more alive today than ever before. I can prove it by my own experience, as well as the testimony of countless thousands.” A few weeks later, in the morning of Easter Sunday in 1932, Rev. Ackley was preparing for his a worship service. As he was shaving, he tuned on the radio to hear a special Easter broadcast. “Good morning!” The well-known preacher began. “It’s Easter! You know folks, it really doesn’t make any difference to me if Christ be risen or not. As far as I am concerned, his body could be as dust in some Palestinian tomb. The main thing is, his truth goes marching on!” Rev. Ackley was mad. “It’s a lie!” He anyway had to go to his church. On that Easter Sunday, he fervently preached on the resurrection. But at the end of the day, he still felt that he had not yet said everything he wanted to say. So that very night, Rev. Ackley wrote the words, and then composed the melody just as it appears in our hymnal today.
In the hymn, he testifies, “He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.” Sisters and brothers in Christ, in this beautiful season of Easter, as you meditate on the meaning of Jesus’ resurrection in your lives, I hope and pray that you may remember and hold onto this wisdom… our faith in the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t depend on mere historical proof. Does our faith in our risen Christ fill our lives with joy and hope, comfort and strength? Does our faith in the everlasting Christ empower us to carry on through any hardships in life? Does our faith in the new life enable us to overcome even the power of evil and death? Then, we surely know Jesus Christ lives within our hearts, and that’s how people around us will know the authenticity of our faith in our risen Lord. May the Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead always be with us and lead us to keep this faith, and may the risen Christ continue to make our lives the greatest proof of the resurrection always. Amen.
 Willam Willimon, Will Willimon’s Lectionary Sermon Resource, Year B, Part 1(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2017), 268-269.
 The story is from two books: Carlton R. Young, Companion to The United Methodist Hymnal(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), 391. George W. Sanville, Forty Gospel Hymn Stories(Winona Lake, IN: Rodeheaver Hall-Mack Co, 1943), 34.And two online resources: https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-he-lives
Pastor Earl Kim