It’s the Easter season and Christians are left with an important question: what makes resurrection—this defeat of death–foundational to our faith?
1 Corinthians 15:12
I am willing to argue that without resurrection we have nothing. If there was on central tenant to uphold resurrection would be it and everything could literally fade away. You can even eliminate the cross because if resurrection fails the cross is pointless.
Without there is no hope not just for Christianity, but the entirety of humanity. Here’s why.
In order to capture an idea of ‘why’ we have to look at the entire story.
In the Bible there is an unfolding history of God journeying with humanity; he is continually reaching out to reconnect with us. The theme seems to be God making attempt after attempt to connect relationally with his creation.
It also appears humanity shares many of the same dreams as God. We yearn for what is just, we like to be connected with friends, we seek to be loved, and know the difference when love turns to hurt. God is working for the same things: a world free from pain–free from all the wrongs and the hurt.
God wants to put the world to rights and in order to make this happen he eventually reaches towards a nation that will make take this dream of ushering in God’s dream on Earth as their own.
If you’ve read the stories in the Bible you know that in the Old Testament (OT) God eventually selects the ancient Israelites to be representatives of ushering in this ‘Kingdom of God’. He commits to invest in the ancient Israelites so that they would emerge as the means by which God would put the world to rights.
Israel would be the ‘light unto the world’ as the ones who would participate in righting all the wrongs. But if you know the stories in the OT we consistently get this recurring theme of, ‘everybody did what was right in their own eyes’. The emergence of God’s Kingdom encounters roadblock after roadblock.
Long story short it didn’t work out with Israel, but God didn’t give up. He still yearned to completely reconnect with humanity and continued to seek out a complete representative who embodied the entirety of the Kingdom of God → God needed a perfect example.
In comes the story of the gospel (and of Easter) where one message becomes paramount. It’s not a message solely about grace or justification (which are important), but a proclamation that Jesus Christ as Lord.
In Jesus we no longer have a nation but a person who represents the entirety of God’s promise to put the world to rights. BUT there is a mystery and magnificence to Christ because he wasn’t just a person but fully God as well (we call this the incarnation).
It’s in Christ where we see a new road being traveled without fail. Not only was Jesus fully God and fully human he was different in other core ways:
Instead of hate he always chose love.
Instead of condemnation he chose second chances.
Instead of status quo he fought for change.
Instead of oppression he chose deliverance.
Instead of injustices he worked for what was right.
Instead of greed he chose grace.
But one thing didn’t fit right off the bat.
He chose, for himself, death instead of life.
You’d think when it came to death, (the ultimate disconnect from relationships), Christ would represent life. But think about it, who can beat death? It seems absurd. In fact, it is absurd.
Before Easter we celebrate Good Friday and note how the cross represents the death of Jesus. We mourned the sacrifice.
But, the cross is temporary, because the real story happens three days later.
The inexplicable occurs: Christ defeats death. In the end (or is it just the beginning) he chose life over death.
Sure rising from the dead sounds cool but how does that fit into the big picture? Perhaps it has something to do with God’s ultimate plan for creation. I don’t think it has to do with working in this world so we can spend eternity in either heaven or hell. I do think it has everything to do with fulfilling what God has already promised.
Do you see what has happened in the Isaiah verses? We have a picture of heaven and earth joined together—the final destination. But it’s not just about what is promised to happen in the future that’s paramount–that’s only half the story.
Remember God’s dream? That’s our hope– the day when all wrongs turn right. Resurrection is the only key because without it we have no hope, no purpose, no love, and no destination.
Christ’s resurrection is a glimpse into the new creation—the things that are to come. He inaugurated (started) the unfolding of God’s Kingdom on earth (his plan to put the world to rights), today you and I are caught in the ‘now but not yet’.
The Kingdom inaugurated now through the resurrection of Christ, but it has not yet come into full completion because God hasn’t made all things right in final redemption.
You and I are given not only an example in Jesus Christ, but incentive and motivation to be the foretaste of what is to come. In our own voice we engage within God’s redemption plan for creation, to be connected in righting the wrongs as our way of proclaiming Jesus Christ is Lord. That’s Easter.
Are you connected into this story? Are you participating in this hope?