Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Reflection: What does the Resurrection mean to me

Without the Resurrection, there would be no Christianity. Jesus would have died just another rebel executed by the Romans. The Resurrection is what makes his story different.

As I told my confirmation kids, even non-Christian scholars have to admit that something happened on that first Easter 2000 years ago. No one suffers imprisonment and death for some story he and his friends made up. The apostles had nothing to gain by making stuff up.

The apostles, after seeing their risen Lord, went throughout the world spreading his message. If it wasn't for the resurrection, we wouldn't know all of the other stories about Jesus. The Sermon on the Mount would have been lost to history. As would have walking on water or all of the healing stories. Stories like the healing stories were told about other prophets in Jesus' day. His story wouldn't have stood out if it wasn't for the resurrection.

As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:14, "... if Christ has not been raised, then empty (too) is our preaching; empty, too, your faith." The pivotal concept of the Christian faith is that "... God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life." (John 3:16) Without that cornerstone, the whole structure falls. 

So, that is what the resurrection means to me. Without the resurrection, there would be no Christianity. Without Christianity, I wouldn't be Christian. It's that simple.

The God who knows suffering, who loved us all enough to die for us, rose from the dead. "He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent." (Colossians 1:18) 

To quote Paul just one more time:

Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)

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