Resurrection People- Day 4

“Resurrection and the Church”

“If we leave him in the tomb we can systematize his teaching and sanitize his actions.  We can manage the church and keep things in order.  If we leave him in the tomb, then Christianity belongs to us to make of it what we will, to reform it in our image and sell it to the highest bidder.  If the tomb is empty, the implications for the church are explosive to say the least.  If he is truly with us in a way not so dissimilar to how he was with his disciples, then nothing will ever be the same again.”

Andrew Cottingham

Pharisee Envy…

I wish sometimes that I got Jesus half as much as the religious leaders of his day.

They at least saw he was enough of a threat to their way of life to kill him.

I just turn on the tv and think about something else.

Resurrection People- Day 3

“Resurrection and Reality”

“For the earliest Christians, to speak of Jesus’ resurrection was to speak of something that, however (in our sense) earth-shattering, however much it drew together things earthly and heavenly, was still an “earthly” event, and needed to be exactly that.  It had earthy consequences: an empty tomb, footprints by the shore, and at Emmaus, a loaf broken but not consumed…

And however dangerous this may turn out to be be, it is the real world in and for which Christians are committed to living and, where necessary, dying.  Nothing less is demanded by the God of creation, the God of justice, the God revealed in and as the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth.”

from The Resurrection of the Son of God, N.T. Wright, p. 736-737.

A laugh with Judas…

I wonder if Jesus and Judas ever shared a laugh together.  Matthew 26 opens with another statement of Scripture regarding Jesus’ prediction of his upcoming death and of course his betrayal.  I don’t think I ever really have spent too much time thinking about the betrayal of Jesus.  I guess, perhaps, the Bible stories I heard growing up sort of dilute it.  When I think about the events leading up to Jesus’ arrest and trial and eventual death, the betrayal doesn’t really sting as much.  I know Judas is the bad guy the whole time, right?  Even the Gospels themselves cheat us, it seems, by giving away the ending too soon.  I think of Matthew 10:4 where Matthew lists the twelve main disciples called by Jesus, ending with “Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”  In my mind’s eye, there’s the happy Eleven tagging after Jesus, Peter with foot-in-mouth of course, and trailing at the back is Judas with a little dark rain cloud positioned above his head.  O yea, he’s going through the money bag while every one else is turned around also.

So of course when he makes that deal with the religious leaders to give them Jesus, it doesn’t really hit home the way I suppose it’s meant to.  I didn’t really expect much of him to begin with.  But the man lived and walked with Jesus for 3 years.  They camped out on the road together.  They probably laughed at a joke together, which for guys can be the closest bonding experience we have outside of a fistfight.  He was one of the 12, sent out to do miracles and prepare towns for Jesus’ arrival.  He probably got one of those 12 leftover baskets of bread and fish for himself.  He saw Jesus collapse into a boat and sleep through a storm tired from the crowds.  He saw Jesus weep over the city that stoned the prophets.  He had his feet washed the same night of his treachery.

I think that’s one reason why Matthew and the other Gospel writers give it away so early.  After all, Judas didn’t just betray Jesus, but the other 11 as well.  I’m certain writing about him drew tears to their eyes as they thought about all the times they had spent together on a shared mission with a shared Teacher.  So close, yet apparently so far, they found out.  Betrayal is devastating, and it seems they wanted to spare the readers from the heartbreak they felt themselves.  Certainly the heartbreak that Christ himself felt when betrayed in the torchlit garden by a token of friendship, a kiss.  Dramatic plot twists aren’t as fun when you’re on the stage and not in the audience.

Resurrection People- Day 2

“Resurrection and Hope”

“Every year at Easter I get to preach on the Resurrection.  In my sermon I always say to my skeptical, secular friends that, even if they can’t believe in the resurrection, they should want it to be true.  Most of them care deeply about justice for the poor, alleviating hunger and disease, and caring for the environment.  Yet many of them believe that the material world was caused by accident and that the world and everything in it will eventually simply burn up in the death of the sun.  They find it discouraging that so few people care about justice without realizing that their own worldview undermines any motivation to make the world a better place.  Why sacrifice for the needs of others if in the end nothing we do will make any difference?  If the resurrection of Jesus happened, however, that means there’s infinite hope and reason to pour ourselves out for the needs of the world.” [bold emphasis mine]

from The Reason for God, Tim Keller, p. 211-212.

Resurrection People- Day 1

“United in Resurrection…”

“Some things that should have happened to us, like death and punishment, happened instead to Jesus.  God considers us as if we really had experienced what Jesus experienced on the cross.  Conversely, there are things that happened to him that we did not deserve–like resurrection and receiving the approval of God.  Thanks to our union with Christ we share in those benefits…

Salvation is not merely a case of believing in something that happened thousands of years ago.  We are not saved by a belief.  We are saved by union with a person.  We cannot separate the propitiatory work of Christ from Christ himself.  We are saved not only by believing the fact that Christ died for our sins, but by union with the crucified and risen, exalted Savior.  Only through union with a living Savior who has in him the virtue of his atoning death do justification, forgiveness, and all the blessings of redemption become ours.  “In him, we have redemption through his blood.” (Ephesians 1:7).”  [Bold emphasis mine]

from Raised with Christ, Adrian Warnock, p. 141.

Mission and National Self-Preservation

Hengel on first century Judaism*:

“A universal missionary consciousness could not really develop freely in the face of this elemental impulse towards national self-preservation.”

I’ll leave this without comment and let you ponder an application for today.

(*Found quoted in Salvation to the Ends of the Earth, by Kostenberger and O’Brien)