“If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless … your faith is futile … you are dead in your sins . . . and we are to be pitied more than all men.” I Cor. 15: 14,17,19
Before I met Christ, my impression of Christians was they were exactly as Paul wrote . . . useless, futile, anti fun, pitiful, and out of touch with reality. I would have agreed with Woody Allen who once said, “To you I am an atheist. To God I am the loyal opposition.”
All that changed when a few older friends helped me realize the truth of Christianity hinged not on the lives of Christians but on one historically verifiable [or not] fact: the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Simply, as the Apostle Paul wrote, if Jesus was a real person who rose bodily from the grave on a specific day in a specific place in history, everything Jesus said or did has more authority than anyone or anything in the world - ever. If he didn’t, Christians are actually more pathetic than even I imagined.
So I set out on a two year quest to gain evidence as to why one should not be a Christian. Ultimately, my search led me to the conclusion that Jesus, in fact, existed, that the accounts of his life and death were trustworthy, that the disciples could not have stolen the body after he died, that Jesus was not resuscitated, and that more than 500 hundred eyewitnesses of His resurrection did not die for a lie.
Yet coming to an intellectual belief in the resurrection was not that life changing. The difference Jesus’ resurrection made came when I was challenged to ask God if I could actually meet Jesus in the here and now. I had been told that Jesus, in rising from the dead, was still alive. And He was not just seated at the right hand of God, but by His Spirit could be known and experienced in real life every day.
After much hemming and hawing, in June of 1983, I got up the nerve to ask Jesus if He was indeed alive. I asked Him to open my eyes, take away the wall of indifference, anger, and cynicism that was between us, and make me a part of God’s family. I asked Him if he could do all this without making me into the kind of religious person I dreaded.
And you know what? On that day I met Him. Or in truth, Jesus met me. I became alive to God. I knew He was alive and that my life direction had changed forever. My life became “God centered” rather than “me centered.” The fact that I would one day want – more than that, ask Him - to let me share the good news that He is alive as my “job” is one piece of evidence for the difference Jesus has made in my life
This Easter, may we not only become convinced in the facts of the resurrection, but may we be willing to meet the Lord who died and rose again for us and commit ourselves to getting to know Him better and better until we see Him face to face.
About the ResBlog
Members of staff and Vestry will be posting on the ResBlog to help us think through who we are in light of the gospel so that we might “spur one another on to love and good deeds.”