I have to say that trying to communicate the importance of the resurrection is like trying to capture the grandeur of the mountains with a 5×7 photograph. This is because, in some ways, the story of Easter is one that everyone of you know, and have heard most of your life, and so when we say Jesus was raised from the dead, I wonder what real impact that truth has on you. Yep, that’s what we say, and we move on, so what’s for dinner? Or for some the idea of Jesus being raised from the dead is more like some nice bedtime story or legend, a great ending but you know that the real truth of the story is in the teachings and the things he did. Well, I want to stop and reflect on just how important Easter is, how important Jesus’ Resurrection is to our faith.
First off, as a movement, as a cause, as a new school of thought and a new way of being in relationship God, all this dies when Jesus dies on the cross. It is dead. When Jesus the leader dies, everything has fallen apart. The wheels of the Jesus bus have fallen off. The disciples who all said to him, “we will come to Jerusalem and die with you”, well, one of them actually betrays him and the others turned out to be deserting cowards. This leaves nobody to pick up the ball, no one to proclaim the Good News. They are without hope and if that was all there was then there would be little to know about Jesus or Christianity. What I am trying to say to you is that, if the story ended with the crucifixion, then this whole story would have been a crushing and utter defeat.
You and I have faced defeat in our life. Each of us has fallen down or been knocked down in life. We have been abandoned or betrayed. Sometimes we have been knocked down repeatedly. And then from the dust or from the hole we have fallen into or that we have been pushed into, we look up and wonder if we can get up again.
This is why the resurrection is so important. The resurrection of Jesus transforms this utter defeat into the ultimate victory. The defeated and demoralized disciples of Jesus are stunned by the impossible and unimaginable. Jesus is raised from the dead. Even death has no power over him. Even when his friends and followers abandon him, he comes back to them, having more faith in them then they have in themselves. They are overwhelmed and overjoyed. Even the words that I am writting can not fully express how powerful their experience. All I can say is that these defeated cowards, after Jesus’ resurrection, are now truly willing to die for Jesus sake and for the sake of proclaiming the Good News and resurrection of Jesus. And the next time they face death themselves, because of their faith in Jesus, they will and do choose death. So firm is their faith in Jesus, so convinced are they by Jesus after his resurrection, they are transformed in way that all the teaching and examples of Jesus before is death and resurrection could not convince them. They are transformed by the hope of the Resurrected Jesus.
This is power of the resurrection that our faith has to offer us. God, in sending Jesus, tells us that even when things seem to be absolutely lost, when we see now way out, we should never be without hope, because nothing is impossible for God. The resurrection tells us that even in the face of all that this world can throw against us, God will always have the last word for us. That word is victory.
Christ is Risen! Alleluia!