“I believe in the resurrection of the body.” To most readers, that statement will not be surprising coming from a Christian pastor.
I don’t believe it just because my job assumes it, or because I took vows to that effect. Indeed, it is the opposite — I took the vows of priesthood and the job of pastor because I believe it.
I could offer a variety of reasons why I believe that Jesus rose from the dead and the tomb was empty. But there is one in particular that I want to focus on today. The disciples.
With the exception of Judas, who I’ll come back to in a moment, all of the disciples went to their deaths proclaiming that Jesus rose from the dead. Most of them were martyred for proclaiming this belief. If this were just some story they made up to help them face the shock of Jesus’ death, or some limp effort to keep their little fellowship going, they would not have gone to their deaths proclaiming it. The thrill would have worn off and they would have returned to their homes and their former lives.
Judas is interesting here because in spite of his famous suicide before Jesus rose, even the fact of his suicide indicates that he realized that he had betrayed not just his friend but the Messiah. So even in such a sad way, Judas’ death points us to who Jesus was.
My purpose here is not to get heads nodding in intellectual affirmation that Jesus rose from the dead, so that you can join in worship on Sunday and recite the Creed without crossing your fingers. My point is that Jesus’ resurrection should change our lives.
The resurrection which we celebrate at Easter, indeed every Sunday. is a celebration of the resurrection, not just an interesting historical curiosity to be debated and disseminated. It is an earth-shattering, life-changing shift in the very fabric of creation. If it doesn’t change your life, you just haven’t gotten it yet.
How is your life different because of the resurrection? Would someone look at you and consider your life reason to believe in the resurrection? Let this Easter be a real Easter for you!
This column is from the April 12, 2020 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete edition.
If you are reading this at a different time, you may click here for the current eNews.