I trust that we have been enjoying our preaching series on the Gospel according to Mark since the beginning of 2012. Mark has given us an amazing account of Jesus, retelling to us his authority as King and suffering as Servant. The audience in Jesus’ time as well as us are equally astonished at the authority of his teaching. In this Holy Week, I trust that we have been humbled by Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice as he suffered on the Cross for us. But one most important thing remains – Are our lives filled with the hope of Jesus’ resurrection?
The truth of Jesus’ resurrection impacts everything in our lives.
The Sadducees say there is no such thing as resurrection (Mark 12:18). Jesus says, “you are quite wrong” (Mark 12:27). Jesus teaches us that the reason the Sadducees are wrong is because they “know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” (Mark 12:24). There are teachings that faithful, God-loving, Bible-centered Christians differ on. We, Presbyterians practice infant baptism whereas my friends from my previous church do not. Both practice and non-practice of infant baptism stems from a conviction from Scriptures. Christians may differ on teachings as such, but one glorious doctrine that we cannot afford to get wrong is the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection.
In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul paints to us a life without resurrection:
Our preaching is in vain (v.14).
Your faith is in vain (v.14).
Found to be misrepresenting God (v.15).
Not even Christ has been raised (v.16).
Your faith is futile (v.17)
You are still in your sins (v.17).
Those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished (v.18).
We are of all people most to be pitied (v.19).
Is there such a thing as the resurrection? Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
In the book ‘King’s Cross’, author Timothy Keller noted that the accounts of the resurrection are based on the testimony of women. In ancient societies, a woman’s testimony was never given any credence. Now if the Gospel writer is just making up the whole story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, why would he discredit his own writing by including the testimony of women? The only possible reason is that the Gospel is true. Jesus is real, he lived, he died and he rose again.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:1–4, ESV)
And if Jesus rose again, everything in our lives changes.
Our preaching and our faith is not in vain. We will not be found to be misrepresenting God. Our faith is not futile and we are not still in our sins. Those who have fallen asleep in Christ have not perished. Ultimately, we are of all people most to be hopeful because Christ is risen indeed!
The best part of the Gospel story that we have been reflecting on in this season of Lent is the fact that it is true. And because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true, it has power to conquer all our false securities and fears in life and death.
What season of life is God sovereignly giving you now?
If it is a season of plenty, enjoy and give thanks. But put no hope in anything other than the truth that Christ is risen. Everything pales in comparison to our glorious risen Christ.
If it is a season of suffering, press on. But cast no doubt on God’s presence, love and goodness because the truth is that Christ is risen. Nothing in life is to be feared because we stand in the power and hope of our risen Christ.
Joni Eareckson Tada is a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the neck down since seventeen. She was at a Christian convention in which the speaker urged people to get down on their knees and pray.
“Everyone did except Joni. “With everyone kneeling, I certainly stood out. And I couldn’t stop the tears.” But it wasn’t because of self-pity. She was crying because the sight of hundreds of people on their knees before God was so beautiful- “a picture of heaven.” And then she continued weeping at another thought:
Sitting there, I was reminded that in heaven I will be free to jump up, dance, kick and do aerobics. And…sometime before the guests are called to the banquet table at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb, the first thing I plan to do on resurrected legs is to drop on grateful, glorified knees. I will quietly kneel at the feet of Jesus.” (King’s Cross, p.222)
Only the truth of Jesus’ resurrection can give real hope to us. May our families be filled with the power and hope of Jesus, our risen Christ!
One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow’r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!
(“See, What a Morning” (Resurrection Hymn) Keith Getty and Stuart Townend)