Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Sunday: The transforming power of the resurrection

Opening Sentence
On this day the Lord has acted; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

Collect of the Day
O God, who made this most holy night to shine with the glory of the Lord's resurrection: Stir up in your Church that Spirit of adoption which is given to us in Baptism, that we, being renewed both in body and mind, may worship you in security and truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 148, 149, 150

Lessons: Exodus 12:1-14; Isaiah 51:9-11; John 1:1-18, 20:19-23; Luke 24:13-35

Skeptics who deny the resurrection of Jesus will often employ a classic "straw man" argument. It goes something like this: the resurrection could not have involved the "bodily resuscitation" of Jesus, since such a feat is "scientifically" impossible. This argument, however, is based on a flawed premise.

The message of Easter is not "Christ has been resuscitated," but "Christ is risen!" It is the skeptics, not those who by faith proclaim this fundamental truth of the Christian faith, who reduce the resurrection to mere "bodily resuscitation." The resurrection was and is so much more than the re-animation of a corpse. It is the transformation of Jesus' whole person--spirit, soul, and body--into a higher state of existence.

The message of Easter is not merely that one Man has been raised from the dead but that, in that one Man is embodied the transformation of all of history--past, present, and future--toward the redemptive purpose and will of God. Indeed, Jesus Christ--crucified and risen--embodies the hope of all creation.

The biggest problem skeptics have with the resurrection is not that it involves the body of Jesus coming back to life, but that it involves a far greater reality than their feeble minds are able to comprehend. So, in an effort to downplay its true significance, they reduce it to a "bodily resuscitation" and then proceed to engage it on the level of scientific naturalism.

Faith, however, trumps rational sophistication. This is what Thomas realized when he beheld the Risen Christ and touched his wounds. As Jesus, by his resurrection, transforms all of history and all of creation, so he also is able to transform a hardcore skeptic ("Unless I see. . .I will not believe.") into a humble believer who freely declares his unqualified devotion ("My Lord and my God!").


Christ the Lord is Risen Today