Article 43 : Letters from the desk of a Great-Grandfather
JESUS IS ALIVE!
I was really stirred yesterday while rereading this passage from The Message:
"Now let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there is no resurrection, there's no living Christ. And face it - if there's no resurrection for Christ, everything we've told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you've staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ - sheer fabrications, if there's no resurrection.
If corpses can't be raised, then Christ wasn't, for he was indeed dead. And if Christ wasn't raised, then all you're doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It's even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they're already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we're a pretty sorry lot. 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."
1 Cor. 15 vv12--20
YES HE HAS, and SO WILL WE!
We oldies tend to look back more than forward--and remember the tremendous times when we had ringside seats at demonstrations of the power of the Spirit. But I get so much encouragement and comfort when I read of what will become of me some years hence. It's like getting the policies out and rechecking the benefits!
The Resurrection of Jesus is at the core of our faith, the pivot of history. It was, and is, the best news that ever came from a graveyard and has always been the distinctive truth of Christianity. Buddha is dead, Mohammed is dead. Confucius is dead, but JESUS IS ALIVE! I was talking to him only this morning. Not a dead Christ of tender memory but a living Christ of present power. This trumps all the "isms" of today, which will become the "wasms" of tomorrow. The resurrection proves the validity of Jesus, underpins our salvation, and gives us hope.
Because he lives, we shall live also! Death is one of the great certainties of life as one out of one people die, but in Christ, as Jesus said, we will live forever. His resurrection guarantees ours. Our friends bring us to the grave and leave us there, but God doesn't. The grave has a door on its inner side like a spaceship airlock. Death for us is not the end but rather a change of sphere of operations. Someday you will hear that Peter Scott is dead. 'Don't you believe a word of it, for at that moment I shall be more alive than I am now.' Asleep to all outward appearances, I shall be at rest from all pain, sorrow and fear. Our bodies are biodegradable but we are not. Instead, I shall be with Jesus. (Now there's a mystery! Both are true but difficult to reconcile.) Welcomed into Paradise, like the dying thief, I will join the glorious company of the great crowd of witnesses. Then, resting until the great Day of Resurrection, I shall be remade with a new body just like Jesus'. I shall be like him. What's not to be thrilled about in all that?!
But a word of caution. This is not for everyone, but only for those whose faith in Jesus has brought us forgiveness and cleansing from all sin, with adoption into God's family. I appreciate that there may be a few surprises on Resurrection Morning, for our understanding is partial and it's God who judges and decides. So until then, join me in "making our calling and election sure" -- and rejoice and give thanks to God for all his wonderful love and grace in Jesus Christ our Lord.
Stay safe. Stay local. Stay within the guidelines.
Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!