A FEW THOUGHTS ON THE RESURRECTION.
As we prepare for Easter let’s consider what the Resurrection of Jesus means to us today. Take these thoughts with you as you conclude the Lenten Season and prepare for Holy Week.
Jesus is vindicated through his rising from the dead. His words and deeds were proven true. Romans 1:4: He was publicly identified as God’s Son with power through his resurrection from the dead, which was based on the Spirit of holiness. This Son is Jesus Christ our Lord. (CEB)
The earliest writers of church history, some of them even eyewitnesses were not ashamed to announce with clarity what had taken place. It’s only modern ‘sophistication’ that shies away from history because we are just too darn smart for that kind of naiveté.
Thanks to the resurrection of Jesus his death was shown credible giving every evidence that what he said was true, that to die is to live both spiritually and bodily.
All despair is reversed by the resurrection or if Christ is not raised then we of all people on this earth are the most duped and pathetic people ever. (1Cor. 15)
In the resurrection of Christ history has turned a corner. God has kept his covenant with Abraham (Genesis 15) and history heads into the final stretch being carried through by the hope and new life of the Kingdom of God, which was first announced by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry. Perhaps it’s why we cry out on Easter Sunday, He is Risen Indeed. The resurrection of Jesus is the cosmic D-day when the evil powers have been doomed and now we follow the risen Christ till the final day.
It is the resurrection of Jesus that allows Paul to write that this daily life of ours is sustained by the same power that raised Jesus. Romans 8:11: If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your human bodies also, through his Spirit that lives in you.
Paul will go on to say that he wants to live his life as well as endure his sufferings through that same power (Philippians 3)
It is the resurrection of Jesus that allows him to stand before the disciples and say that ‘all power and authority in heaven and on earth’ had been given to him and thus could the disciples go out in that power to make disciples, knowing they were given that power by the resurrected Christ. (See Matthew 28)
And the as the church formed together the resurrection became such a cornerstone that Paul would write to the Romans that anyone who would confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead would be saved. (Romans 10:9) What Paul is saying is that there is every reason to place our confidence in this Jesus as the one true God/Man who can ultimately save this world and our lives.
And finally for right now. The resurrection of the body of Jesus signifies not only his victory over death but the importance of the whole human project to God.
None of this is to judge any other religion but is rather to invite us all to be caught up in the confidence of this Messiah who came to invite all to share in the hope and the thrill of life. We have reason to be realistic and optimistic, thanks be to God.
I am indebted for some of my thinking and writing to Thomas Oden in his work, Classic Christianity.