Resurrection revelations…looking at how those first disciples received the resurrection of their Lord helps us in our receiving the reality for ourselves. The scriptures have made it so human; it is filled with a slowness to “get it,” doubts, Jesus’ patience and giving them space to connect the dots between what He had told them and how He had accomplished it. It was imperative that they knew He was alive; otherwise, they would not have had the full gospel message to take out into the world. They would not understand that their lives were now commissioned for a sole purpose.
But what about now for us? What bearing does believing in the resurrection of Christ have on us in these present moments of our lives? What does it matter in the middle of a world pandemic? Life that is rife with not only the plague of COVID, but the plague of judgment, hate, anger, fear, and mistrust that we find ourselves immersed in as people seek to cope.
In the story of Lazarus’ death (a dear friend of Jesus’, as were his sisters), we catch a glimpse of this question in Martha. By the time Jesus got to these friends, Lazarus had been dead for four days. Martha heard that Jesus was coming and went out to see Him before He got to the house. She confesses her agony, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
When Jesus assures her that her brother will rise again, she says, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” It is in this line that I hear, “I know he will rise on the last day but what about now? What about our loss now? What do we do with our sorrow and loss of hope now? What can the resurrection at the last day have to do with now?”
Jesus answers, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Whoever lives by believing in me…
Living our lives by believing in Jesus, that He is the Resurrection and the Life, is meant to make a difference right here and now.
Yesterday I attended a zoom prayer time for a young wife and mother who just found out weeks ago that she has cancer and will not survive without a miracle. Approximately 44 windows of people were there, resurrection people. The young wife and mother was in one window, in her hospital bed, and her husband was in another window at home. A candle was lit, a picture of a baby curled up in strong hands and another picture of people bent low over someone in need were shared before we began to pray. People cried, begged, claimed, proclaimed, called on the Christ of the resurrection. Gathered together from the different corners of this couple’s lives, people prayed out of the hope of the resurrection power of Jesus. Maybe she will be healed. Maybe she will come out of the tomb of this cancer to the glory of God. And maybe she will not.
Martha confesses her belief in who Jesus is before she knows which way it will go for her brother. “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
I don’t know what is going on in your life right now or how you are managing the indescribable way that our world has changed. I don’t know if you have lost loved ones or been separated so long, your heart feels like a heavy stone. What I do know is that in every age, in every disaster, we are called to be resurrection people. It doesn’t mean that we don’t hurt, fear, get angry, etc. But we have Christ to bring all this to, the Christ who looks deeply into our eyes and calls forth the strength of the Spirit in us asking, “Now, right now, do you believe that I am the Resurrection and the Life? Will you let me show you how to live out your belief in this present darkness?
What it will look like for each one of us, I don’t know. But I do know two things: First, I have to let Jesus ask me this question and find my “yes.” Second, my “yes” will need a fresh filling of the Spirit to empower me to live it out.
Prayer; Meditate on these scriptures. Let Christ’s question come to you today. Sit with it. Let the questions that come to you have space and talk it all out with the One who loves you deeply and knows what words you need to hear.
Photo by Alex Blagen-Unsplash