Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Resurrection

A few weeks ago--actually it was Easter Sunday--a friend of mine posted this on Facebook: 

I have a pretty wide variety of friends, from very devout Christians to firm atheists- some of whom have been making zombie jokes all day today.

Personally, I'm skeptical that Jesus rose from the dead, but I respect how important today is for my Christian friends

My friend (a Buddhist) had already posted a Happy Easter wish to all of his Christian friends. 

I'm sharing this for two reasons.  First, I really like that he recognizes that we have different beliefs but acknowledges the things that are important to me (and all of his Christian friends) without feeling like it diminishes the things that are important to him.

And second, isn't the skepticism over the resurrection what really separates Christians from non-Christians?

It (the resurrection) is THE big thing in the Christian faith; not that Jesus died for our sins (He did), but that He conquered death and was raised from the grave. In the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul writes "...if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain."

and "...if Christ has not been raised,  your faith is futile and you are still in your sins."

Without the resurrection, Jesus is just another dead prophet/teacher/good man/whatever.  I really believe that we should all start out (or at least work our way back to) being skeptical about the resurrection.  I say that as a firm believer that Jesus died for our sins and was raised from the dead.  What I mean is that each of us needs to examine why we believe what we believe.  

Lee Strobel's book A Case for Christ has a good chapter on the biblical and historical evidence for the resurrection. It's pretty simple and straightforward and easy to understand.  If it's too simple, there are other books that delve more deeply into the apologetics of the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15 makes me wonder why we (evangelicals) always seem to share about Jesus dying for our sins, but often leave out, or minimize, His resurrection.  

It is His resurrection that gives meaning to His death. 
It is His resurrection that gives purpose to His death. 
It is His resurrection that gives purpose to our life. 
It is His resurrection that gives hope...and not for this life only, but for eternal life!

Paul goes on to tell us that if there is no resurrection and our hope in Christ is for this life only, that we are to pitied most of all.

I accept that the resurrection of Jesus is an incredible thing on it's own. I accept that without a belief in an all powerful God, the resurrection is impossible to believe. One must believe in an all powerful, loving God before they can ever come to the point of accepting the grace and mercy of the empty tomb.  
Maybe we choose the crucifixion over the resurrection because the cross is a way cooler symbol than a cave or a hole dug into a rock.  

As for me:
I believe,
I hope,
I rejoice
   in a Risen Savior;
   in a Living God!

John <><

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