What kind of faith does it require to live as a Christian? It takes resurrection faith. What does that mean?
To help us have faith in the resurrection yesterday, today and tomorrow.
We will look at why there is crying, Easter agendas, why Easter is so important and what is resurrection faith.
Woman, why are you Crying
Probably thinking that Jesus’ body had been stolen by grave robbers Mary began to cry (John 20:11). First a couple of angels and then later Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” Then Jesus simply spoke her name and she seems to have immediately recognized his voice. After that encounter she exclaimed to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” John saw the empty tomb and believed. Peter saw it too but did not believe. Mary saw the empty tomb but did not believe. Then she heard and believed. Belief often comes by hearing the word of Christ. That’s the literal meaning behind Romans 10:17. Why do we sorrow. Let us read the scriptures and hear them read every week at church. Just listen and you will hear the words of Jesus and you too will believe.
Leave our Agendas Out of Easter
Catholics have used John 20:4, 18 to point out that Peter was the first into the tomb and thus deserving of being first Pope. Protestants have used it to show John’s greater faith than Peter’s and thus Peter did not deserve the title of first Pope. Women’s movements have used the same passage to show that Mary Magdalene was the first with the good news of Jesus’ resurrection and thus a woman was the first evangelist. Quite frankly these ideas are disgusting. The political domination of Rome over the western Church, the Protestant rebellion against Rome and the social ambitions of modern women have little to do with the real story. How dare we trivialize or taint the resurrection of our Lord with human politics! Jesus is alive and in him we Catholics, Protestants, men and women are alive too.
Why Easter so Important
In the Old Testament, the most important season was Passover. And during that eight day period, the significant celebration was Passover evening. Since the earliest days in Christian history, Passover has also remained as the most important Christian celebration. English speakers call it Easter, but most languages still call it Passover. The observation has changed dramatically. Whereas many Christians observe a Passover-like celebration of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, Easter Sunday has taken on a significance not found during the Old Testament Passover festival. As Jesus observed Passover eve a day early, so too do Christians modify the time of observance and also include the far more significant remembrance of the Resurrection (John 20:1-18). Resurrection Sunday has become the chief celebration of the year. Every Sunday is a reminder that he is alive and in him we live.
Victory through Suffering
We are all tempted by immediate gratification. We want pain to go away, now! We are drunk on sugary, fatty, unhealthy foods. When we want satisfaction we may also be tempted to do other things the wrong way. Life delivers frequent tests as to whether or not we want to endure short-term pain for long-term gain. We may be tempted to lie, cheat or steal to avoid that short-term pain, because we want immediate gratification. However, short-cuts can harm us in the long term. Jesus prayed that he would not have to endure the cross, but in the end chose to suffer. Easter Sunday is not about avoidance of suffering but about victory through suffering (John 20:1-18). The natural human desire to avoid short-term suffering can cause long-term pain for ourselves and others. Victory through suffering is sweet forever.
Living in Resurrection Faith
Is the resurrection (John 20:1-18) relevant to our lives now? It was not an Old Testament observance and the Sadducees doubted it. Resurrection Day is part of Christian Passover season, Easter in English. It is a greater celebration than days which more directly picture Passover, like Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. It is our hope after this life, but also something we can live every day. How do we live the resurrection now? One example Jesus gave was that when we have a celebration we ought to invite the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind (Luke 14:13-15), people not often represented at parties of the rich and famous. By loving our neighbors, we live Easter all year and will be rewarded wonderfully at our own resurrection. Let’s give new life away and live the resurrection today.
Resurrecting Dead Dreams
This dog-eat-dog world is called a jungle, where people walk all over each other. Just to survive, we become tough and and bitter inside. Yet, Jesus came to save us from ourselves and the world around us. That’s what the resurrection is about (John 20:1-18). Romans 5:10 says that we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son and saved by his life. When everything in this world seems to be out to destroy us, God is there to rebuild. Have our marriages been dying? God is there to give them life. Have our dreams shriveled up and died? God is there to resurrect them. Have our spirits shrunk and withered with discouragement? God is there to revive our spirits. He is on our side and wants to save us. All we need do is ask.
Easter teaches us that resurrection faith is for yesterday, today and forever. Let us live that resurrection every day.