Christ Has Been Raised

 

Genesis 45:3-11, 15

1 Corinthians 15:35-38,42-50

Luke 6:27-38

Psalm 37:1-12, 41-42

 

Some people reject the notion that Jesus was human. Down through the centuries, there have been many inventive explanations of how God took over an unsuspecting body, then left that body at the cross, only to reappear in a new body; etc.

If you cannot accept that Jesus was a baby boy, just as helpless as any other; that he was ignorant of the world until he was taught by his earthly parents and others; that he was called by God to take on the role of the Messiah at about age 30; that he did not know all that God knows, but that God gave him what he needed when he needed it; and that Jesus chose to do something that no other human could ever do—go to battle with the Evil One and defeat him, then defeat the Angel of Death; resurrection may be a problem for you.

If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raisedNIV If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then there is no Good News as Jesus preached it. If you reject Jesus’ resurrection, then there is no need to pay attention to any of his preachings. Make your way in the world as best you can until you die.

But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries. There is a nice symmetry in this: Death initially came by a man, and resurrection from death came by a man. Everybody dies in Adam; everybody comes alive in ChristMSG

Without Easter, Sunday Christians are lost.

Paul’s last words in today’s reading: I need to emphasize, friends, that our natural, earthy lives don’t in themselves lead us by their very nature into the kingdom of God. Their very “nature” is to die, so how could they “naturally” end up in the Life kingdom? MSG

Or, as the ESV put it: I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. ESV

There needs to be a bridge between the world of death and the world of Life. Jesus the Messiah is that bridge. If Jesus the human did not die and rise from the grave, then there is no bridge.

Don’t be fooled by the appearances of Jesus after the grave. He sat with his disciples, ate with them, let them touch the holes in his hands, but his was a new body. It was not perishable. It was not the same body the disciples had known before the crucifixion. Yes, his old body disappeared from the grave, and his new body looked like the old one, but it was not the same.

Jesus lives so that I can live, but I can’t live with him until I die on this earth. What I can do is make this perishable life more like the New Jerusalem life. I can take the teachings of Jesus to heart and try to follow them as best I can.

In today’s reading, Jesus said, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who treat you badly. Phillips That is a hard saying for this world, but not for the world to come. We all need to practice that kind of love every day, dreaming of the time when it will be whole and complete in each of us.

 

Be righteous and do good.

Mike Lawrence

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