Transforming Mission resurrection evidence

Kirk Byron Jones, author of The Jazz of Preaching and editor of The African-American Preaching Library writes:

“Handling the resurrection is challenging; being handled by the resurrection is even more challenging.  In Alaine Alsire’s novel, Lazarus’ problem was not being raised; his problem was being raised ‘different.’ He was not the same person. Christian resurrection is not just about coming back to life, but coming back to life ‘different.’  We don’t do different well. In social relations, all too often we interpret different as deficient…

Being handled by the resurrection means constantly challenging our fear of the unknown, and even more…constantly challenging our fear ‘of the loss of the known.’  Being handled by the resurrection means learning to relax in the experience of new life. May we enter with God into the work of changing and recomposing our lives.  May we rise and cheer such resurrections.”

Any reflection I do upon the resurrection brings me to the discovery that the attention of the early church was focused on the transforming power of the risen Christ.  Those early followers of Jesus saw themselves as evidence of the power of the Resurrection to transform lives.

Even though there were those who did not want Jesus around, God raised him up and put him back to preaching, teaching, and healing. The early followers of Jesus understood Jesus to be doing his preaching, teaching, and healing through them. They understood Jesus to be with them in the midst of their present living. He was beside them, sustaining them in life.

So on the morning of the Resurrection, God gave us God’s transforming presence.  The proof of the resurrection, then, is not the empty tomb, but the full hearts of transformed disciples. The crowning evidence that Jesus lives is not a vacant grave, but a Spirit-filled fellowship.  Not a rolled-away stone, but a carried-away church. The proof of the resurrection is in our transformed lives and in the transformation of the community and the world.

The power of Jesus’ resurrection is to reshape our lives to live the way Jesus lived and to think the way Jesus thought. The thrust of the resurrection is to help us change our way of living so that it begins to resemble the life of Jesus.  For you and me, the resurrection is the greatest event in all of life. It means that we live all of life in the presence, love, and power of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He is beside us, sustaining us in life.

The late Dr. Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard wrote:

“…the resurrection is a continuing event which involves everyone who dares be involved in it.  Easter is not just about Jesus, it’s about you.  Jesus has already claimed his new life.  What about you?  Easter is not just about the past, it’s about the future.  Your best days are ahead of you.  The proof of the resurrection is in your hands and in your life.

May we enter with God into the work of changing and recomposing our lives.  May we rise and cheer such resurrections.”

So let it be.

-Tim Bias

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