Reason Meets Risen
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 3-4, NIV). Also, read 1 Cor. 3-8, 12-26, 50-58.
If you had to name the most significant outcome of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, what would it be? I’m fairly certain it’d be the fact that Jesus’ bodily resurrection means a future resurrection for you.
Am I right?
Every time I preach a funeral, I make sure to ask people the ‘why’ question.
“Whatever it is you believe about life after death, even if you don’t believe in any, WHY do you believe that? Why do you believe what you believe?” It’s a more important question than the "What do you believe?" question.
Jesus and His eyewitnesses are SO very convinced of His resurrection that they claim it changes everything including death. The apostle Paul basically says, “if Jesus has not been raised from the dead then nothing else is true of Him either. Our faith is futile and useless. But if He has been raised from the dead, then we have everything to live and die for!”
"Why do you believe what you believe?" is the clarifying question.
It asks for substance and reason and voracity. When someone says He’s going to raise Himself from the dead and then does it, that guy ought to be listened to!
I love that part of the text where Paul quotes from Isaiah:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
It reminds me of the great poem by George Herbert called "A Dialogue-Anthem" where the Christian has a dialogue with death:
“Alas, poor Death! Where is thy glory?
Where is thy famous force, thy ancient sting?
Alas, poor mortal, void of story!
Go spell and read how I have killed thy King.
Poor Death! And who was hurt thereby?
Thy curse being laid on Him makes thee accurst.
Let losers talk, yet thou shalt die;
These arms shall crush thee.
Spare not, do thy worst.
I shall be one day better than before;
Thou so much worse, that thou shalt be no more.”
Whew! When reason meets risen it changes the world! It changes lives! Our death is not final!
After a year of death and sickness and confusion, this Easter is truly a Resurrection celebration! Death does not have the final word. Everything that death takes away, Jesus gives back by His defeat of death. Jesus’ resurrection undoes all of the damage and the hell of death. It makes everything sad, untrue.
Jesus is unlike all other religious leaders or voices of popular opinion. No one has ever said and did what He said and did and validated it with His own resurrection. And this is our assurance and hope. When reason meets risen everything is changed, especially how we approach the horror and the pain of death. Thank you, Jesus.
Happy Resurrection Day! Happy indeed.
“Jesus, please give our faltering faith strong legs to stand on. Help us especially when life is its darkest to believe the truth, the facts, the reason. Give us such assurance this week that our doubts and fears melt away under the power of Your resurrection. Thank you, for everything. Amen.”
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains