Last Saturday night, with great fanfare and razzamatazz, under tight security and the gaze of a television audience, twenty-two of Egypt’s Pharaohs were moved to their new home in the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation.
The eighteen kings and four queens—some of them the most famous of Egypt’s rulers, including Rameses II and Hatshepsut, one of the few female rulers—were transported with great pageantry in chronological order of their reigns.
But what struck me most was a startling and stunning contrast. Here were the mummified remains of rulers of Egypt, men and women once regarded as gods, being moved from one resting place to another—at Easter!
The contrast couldn’t have been made any greater. The timing was magnificent. The very next morning Christians all over the globe met to celebrate another King leaving his tomb—not dead, but alive. Not being moved, but moving—full of life! Unlike 22 pseudo-gods, this one really was and is God.
There is an incident in the Old Testament where the Ark of the Covenant (a visual symbol of the presence of God) was placed in the temple of a pagan god Dagon. When the religious hierarchy of Dagon came to their temple the next morning they found the statue of Dagon fallen on its face before the Ark, as if in worship. They did what any normal sceptic would do, and placed it back on its feet, assuming it fell over. On entering the temple the next morning, however, there was Dagon on his face again, this time with hands and head broken off—a picture of complete weakness.
Last weekend’s events reminded me of this somewhat: A parade of dead kings, on the weekend that celebrates the resurrection of the King of kings. There they lie in broken mummified remains, while he is risen and exalted.
In an ironic twist one of those Pharaohs may have been the one who said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him?” (Exodus 5:2)—and yet here, his lifeless remains are paraded on the very weekend that marks the triumph of the living Lord whom he questioned. Paraded in a show of empty pomp and departed glory.
I know some will simply say that both the Egyptian claims to divinity and Jesus’ claim to divinity are of the same kind—both spurious nonsense. But that fails to do justice to the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus and the impact it has had on history and on individuals.
As someone else noted “This King is the King of all kings, with a distinct, yet profound difference—he is no longer dead. He is the only King that rose from death so that mankind can have eternal life.”
The day of the Pharaohs is long gone, but Pharaoh’s question hangs on the lips of many human beings, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him?” Mark well the resurrection—that’s who this Lord is. He is the one who triumphs, and before whom not just pharoahs, but kings, presidents and all mankind, will one day bow.
On that day which the resurrection guarantees, Christ will return, and every eye will turn heavenwards, every knee will bow and everyone will see that he is King of kings and Lord of lords. It will be a spectacle that dwarfs last Saturday’s by an infinite measure.
“Who is the Lord that I should obey him?”—He is the King of kings—he is risen from the dead—and he is Lord of lords. That admission needs to be made now, for on that day it will be too late. He must be given his rightful place in our lives—front and centre—My King, My Lord. He is the only King to defeat death, and the only King who gives life.
“Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear… Kiss the Son… Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2)