Jesus is Alive, so what? (Morning)
All Christians around the world believe these essential tents of the faith: Jesus physically died for our sins and was physically raised to life. Paul never used to believe Jesus was important (in fact so unimportant that he persecuted Christians so that they'd stop spreading what he thought was such irrelevant unimportant news). But he had an encounter with the risen Lord on the road to Damascus. It changed everything for him.
The resurrection contrasts with the darkness of Good Friday. The darkness of human emotions of grief, sorrow, disappointment, hurt, failure, cowardice. The darkness of sin. Sin is to miss the mark- we fail to live up to God's standard of holiness. Sin damages us, disabling us from pleasing God and loving others fully. Sin hurts other people. Sin is an offence before God requiring justice to be served. When Jesus died for sin he took the justice of God, the failure we feel, the hurts we've made and received. He took it all.
But against the backdrop of Good Friday's pain and sin being laid on Jesus; the resurrection speaks of victory and life. It has 3 implications:
For Jesus: he is proved to be the victor over humankind's greatest enemies. Death could not hold him down. He won.
For us: anyone who trusts in Jesus is "united with him" in his death and resurrection. His victory over sin and death is now yours.
For the future: 1 Cor 15:19 This matters for the life to come, otherwise our faith is pitiable. Acts 10 says Jesus will also be our appointed judge one day. The judge invites us to come to him as the saviour before that day. On that day those who believe in Jesus will receive resurrection bodies like Jesus that are free from sickness of body and mind.
All of this is so personal. After being raised to life Jesus delayed his return to heaven seemingly just so he could meet Mary, Peter, James, Thomas and the others. After his ascension he encountered Paul on the Damascus road. To be a Christian is to know the power and person of the risen Lord in your life.
Unity. How does Paul's reference to Jesus' death for sin and resurrection being of first importance affect our attitude to other Christians we disagree with?
Friday AND Sunday. Why is it important that we connect with the darkness of the cross as well as the victory of Good Friday? Many Christians lean to one more than the other, what negative impact can that have?
The resurrection has implications on Jesus, on us and on the future. Which of those ideas do you find most powerful right now?