Resurrection? Really necessary?

easterIt’s like a light coming on in a dark room!  There is a problem that we study. We think about it, dream about it, talk it over. Then, there the answer comes – often in a most unexpected moment. It works, problem solved.

On Sunday we celebrate that kind of moment, the Great Resolve of humanity’s question.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ makes all the rest of life make sense. Christianity, is sometimes practiced as a set of rules to live by taught by a good Man who lived long ago. His idealism got Him killed. Game over. His nobility is inspiring, but impractical. The miracles, including His resurrection, are relegated to the status of misguided myth.  Is that what you think?

Christianity without the Resurrection just does not work.  If there is no eternal justice, why would anyone turn the other cheek to someone who is hurting him?  Forgiveness, sacrifice, service – they do not make much sense apart from the assurance of a reward in heaven. Paul knew the foolishness of Christianity without the promise! He tells us that “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:17-19, NIV)

If we do not live beyond the grave, then the only rational way to live is to grab the brass ring – chasing every experience that can satisfy every desire because life is short.  If Heaven is a mirage, then we would be wise to work at making a life that presents us with the most comfort- right now. And, isn’t that exactly how most people live?

But, we know that there is a Heaven to gain because Christ did rise from the dead. Life does not end when our body ceases to function! This is the testimony about the true nature of our existence which is demonstrated by Jesus Christ. He came to restore our God-given destiny, to build a bridge back to our Creator/Father, and to point the Way across the abyss of death to our eternal home. The whole of the life He calls us to live – a life of love, a life of holiness, a life that says ‘yes’ to God and ‘no’ to Self; is completely rational when viewed with eyes that are open to the reality of Eternity. Our small sacrifices now are nothing compared to the glory of the commendation of God and the joy of His Heavenly reward!

Bev was relatively young, a bright and beautiful woman who found herself facing death two years ago.  Last Fall, as it became increasingly apparent that her journey here was drawing to a close, I held onto the Truth of the Resurrection tightly.  3 months ago, as one light faded another Light dawned. In the middle of all the sorrow, I find a serenity that comes from the Promise made secure by Christ’s own death and Resurrection.  Do not think that having a heavenly mind makes one live a grim existence.  Those who know Heaven in their heart are rich with a kind of abundance that comes from another world.

Sure, there is plenty of mystery in all of this. There are a lot of questions that find few answers on this side of Eternity. But there is one Answer that anchors us – Christ died, Christ lives- I will die, I will live!

The word from the Word speaks to our reconciliation with the Father, to our guilt that is removed, to our relationship fully restored. But, do not forget the Empty Tomb, for that is moment of our assurance of final victory.  “Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58, NLT)

Celebrate the Resurrection!  I will, with tears, with hope, with renewed pursuit of His holy will.  “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”

Christ the Lord is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say: Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens and earth reply: Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Dying once He all doth save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids Him rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Hallelujah!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Hallelujah!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Hallelujah!
Christ hath opened paradise, Hallelujah!

Christ, the Lord, is Risen Today
Charles Wesley© Public Domain

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