An Easter Reflection: Where did the Pharaohs go?

Cal Samra, Editor, The Joyful Noiseletter

Many years ago, when I was a young know-it-all-who-knew-nothing-at-all newspaper reporter, I visited Egypt and, like many tourists, was awed by the pyramids built as tombs for the Pharaohs and their consorts. There were 119 massive Egyptian pyramids constructed from 3150 B.C. by thousands of Egyptian laborers who somehow moved and fashioned stones weighing tons.

Some archaeologists have suggested that the pyramids were designed as a type of "resurrection machine" to expedite the rich and powerful Pharaohs on their journey to the afterlife, to "magically launch the deceased Pharaoh's soul directly into the abode of the Egyptian gods."

But no one ever saw a Pharaoh rise from the dead. Down through the centuries, there never was recorded an eye-witness to a risen pharaoh.

Later, I visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built in 335 A.D. at the traditional site where Jesus was crucified and buried. There was the small Jewish tomb where Jesus was buried and then rose from the dead.

With his power and charisma, Jesus could have had riches beyond measure, overwhelming political power, and the pick of the most beautiful and desirable women in the Holy Land. But he was nonpolitical, and chose poverty and celibacy. He came humbly in the form of a servant, causing many of his contemporaries to consider him a lunatic.

Here was the modest tomb of "The Great Physician," who never attended a Hippocratic medical school, who was a poor man who never owned his own home, and never charged a fee from the many ailing people he healed. He walked everywhere, never carrying a sword on his travels, though the countryside was infested with bandits. He chose a healing ministry to serve others and, finally death on a cross to show us the glory of the Resurrection. Who but God could have done that?

Years later, when I became a Christian and read the New Testament, I was awed by the many testimonials by eye-witnesses to the healings of all kinds of diseases by Jesus and his disciples.

I was awed by Jesus' continual exhortations to his followers to be joyful, even at the Last Supper, when he knew he would shortly be humiliated, whipped, beaten, speared, and crucified. "I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete," he said at the Last Supper (John 15:11). Who but the Messiah could talk about joy under such circumstances?

I was awed by the many eye-witness accounts of Jesus' resurrection.

JN consulting editor Dr. Paul L. Maier, a best-selling Lutheran author and pastor, described those resurrection times beautifully in his book, The Very First Easter.

Jesus has healed me many times. Was there ever a historical record of a pharaoh healing anybody?

The Egyptian Pharaohs were confounded – first by Moses, then by Jesus, just as our modern Pharaohs are being confounded.

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