It’s terrible to assume something is impossible because it’s extraordinary.
The first heart transplant is a milestone in the history of medicine that took place on December 3, 1967. The groundbreaking surgery was performed by Dr Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The recipient was a 55-year-old grocer, Louis Washkansky, who was suffering from advanced heart failure. The donor was a 25-year-old woman who died in a car accident earlier that day. The successful transplantation of a human heart opened a new era in the field of organ transplantation and provided hope to countless patients suffering from end-stage heart disease. At the time, the prospect of a successful heart transplant seemed impossible and even controversial. Some critics in the health profession considered the surgery immoral.
Today, heart transplantation is a well-established procedure that is performed in many countries worldwide. According to the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation, approximately four-thousand heart transplants are performed annually across the globe.
This Easter, we celebrate the most extraordinary event in human history: when Jesus rose from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus is not just an Easter trope. Rather, it is history’s memory of something that happened. If the resurrection did happen, as followers of Jesus believe, there is no denying it changes everything for everyone.
While the thought of a person returning from the dead can seem bizarre, it’s a mistake to dismiss it based on how extraordinary the claim is. If a man claiming to be equal with God returned from the dead, then we have good reason to believe he was telling the truth.
Heart transplants today are common and less shocking than they were in 1967. However, resurrection retains its shock factor. But for how much longer? Consider John 5:28-29. Jesus says a time is coming when everyone in their graves will hear God’s voice and come out. Resurrection will become a common experience when Jesus returns to judge the world.
At the signing of the South African constitution, Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Through Jesus, the impossible became possible. He died to forgive our faults and overcame death by rising from the dead. Even though Jesus foretold these things would happen, his followers initially doubted the possibility. Later, after seeing the resurrected Jesus, their hearts and minds were transformed. They gained courage to spread the good news about Jesus to the world. Many even died for their belief in the resurrected Jesus, knowing they would one day experience their own resurrection and live with him forever.
This Easter, I invite you to take a fresh look at the resurrection and consider its extraordinary implications for your life. The resurrection of Jesus was the first of many by God’s mercy and power. Do not reject this gift of life given freely to everyone who calls on Jesus’ name.
Nathan Wilson, College Pastor