Proving the Resurrection

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! – Matthew 28:16-17

In churches all over the world yesterday preachers stood before congregations and did everything they could to convince people that the resurrection happened. And to be honest, I think that’s a little crazy. Jesus’ resurrection will always be a matter of faith. We weren’t there, and as the scripture reference above tells us, even some of those who were there doubted!

Now, I believe in the resurrection. But I want to suggest to you that perhaps we should worry less about what people say they believe happened one Sunday morning 2,000 years ago, and more about how we are living because resurrection still happens. Let me say that a different way. I believe that real faith is less about what you believe happened to Jesus 2000 years ago, and more about what you believe Jesus is doing today.

Theologian Clarence Jordan put it this way:

“The proof that God raised Jesus from the dead is not the empty tomb, but the full hearts of his transformed disciples. The crowning evidence that he lives is not a vacant grave, but a spirit-filled fellowship. Not a rolled-away stone, but a carried-away church.”

I love that. That is something we can lean into. Resurrection is not just something that happened to Jesus one Sunday 2,000 years ago. It’s not just a hope we have for some day in the future when we might live again after our deaths. It’s also something that is happening in us every single day of our lives.

When we feed the hungry because we’ve been fed by the risen Christ…

When we forgive the unforgiveable because we’ve been forgiven by the risen Christ…

When we reconcile broken relationships because we’ve been reconciled by the risen Christ…

When we love the unlovable because we have come to know ourselves loved by the risen Christ…

…we “prove” the resurrection. Despair turns to hope. Darkness gives was to light. Mourning turns to joy. Hatred is conquered by love. Life happens. Resurrection happens.

Easter was yesterday. We celebrated Jesus’ resurrection. Today and tomorrow, let’s live resurrection for a world in need.

Jeff Marian serves as lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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