Christ Is Risen

Christ the Lord was crucified,
He was nailed to a rough hewn cross.
Ridiculed by those He came to save,
Innocent man paid the ultimate cost.
Shedding His blood to pay for our sin – He died.
Three days later He rose from the grave – Alive!

Inconceivable, indescribable, miraculous event.
Son of God, Savior, God’s greatest gift!

Rejoice in the Lord! All praise to our King!
In pure adulation let Hallelujahs ring!
Shout to the Lord! He has conquered the grave!
Evermore He’s alive – Believe and He’ll save.
New life in Jesus is available today!.

by Kim Merryman

The morning that Death was killed by Steve Turner

The morning that Death was killed

I woke in a place that was dark
The air was spicy and still
I was bandaged from head to foot
The morning that death was killed.

I rose from a mattress of stone
I folded my clothes on the sill
I heard the door rolling open
The morning that death was killed.

I walked alone in the garden
The birds in the branches trilled
It felt like a new beginning
The morning that death was killed.

Mary, she came there to find me
Peter with wonder was filled
And John came running and jumping
The morning that death was killed.

My friends were lost in amazement
My father, I knew, was thrilled
Things were never the same again
After the morning that death was killed.

– Steve Turner

Jesus and the Resurrection in the Gospel of Mark

It is unfortunate, I think, that Western Christianity has emphasized the crucifixion to such a degree that the resurrection, the good news, is often eclipsed.

Consider the three prophecies Jesus made of himself in the second half of the Gospel according to Mark.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

They left that place and passed through Galilee. Jesus did not want anyone to know where they were, because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.” (Mark 9:30-31)

They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” (Mark 10:32-34)

In each case the prophecy climaxes with the resurrection. And yet, as you can see for yourself the titles inserted into the Bible for these passages focus exclusively on the crucifixion:

  • Jesus Predicts His Death
  • Jesus Predicts His Death a Second Time
  • Jesus Predicts His Death a Third Time

I think we need to read Mark with fresh eyes.

Living the Resurrection

William_bouguereau_women_at_the_tomb What does resurrection mean for you? This is where differing views on eschatology and apocalyptics have profound implications for discipleship.

If you view the future as relevant for the present only in so far as the last judgement can be calculated to the near future, then chances you’ll treat the resurrection mostly as something to be awaited (as in, End Times events) or remembered (as in, the Easter event).

If, however, you view the future as relevant for how we live in the present, irrespective the nearness of the last judgement, then the resurrection changes everything, right here and now. For it means living the future day and age in this day and age, and watching the sparks fly.

For consider, what if we lived “as if” loving your enemies was an ethic for the present and not just the future? What if we lived “as if” the bottom line was not the bottom line? What if we lived “as if” the threat of death (from terrorists, militant democracies and others) had no hold on us? How world shaking that would be.

That’s what Easter is for me. It’s a call to apocalyptic awareness now.

This post is a contribution to the April SynchroblogDO YOU LIVE UNDER A ROCK? Check out the other great posts for this month’s synchroblog:

Phil Wyman at Square No More – Apocalyptic fervor spurs benevolent giving

Marta Layton at Marta’s Mathoms – Getting Out From Behind The Rock

Alan Knox at the assembling of the church – Living The Resurrected Life

Mike Victorino at  Simply A Night Owl – Crawling Out From Under A Rock

John Paul Todd at E4Unity – Still Asleep In the Light

Patrick Oden at Ravens – A Resurrection

Brambonius at Brambonius’ blog in english – hiding the Resurrection life like a candle under a bucket?

George Elerick at The Love Revolution – (for)getting the resurrection

Liz Dyer at Grace Rules – I Will Answer That Question In A Minute, But First, I Want To Talk About Jesus

Jeff Goins at Jeff Goins Writer – Resurrection

Tammy Carter at Blessing the Beloved – Rock and a Hard Place

Kathy Escobar at the carnival in my head – little miracles

Christen Hansel at Greener Grass – Resurrection Rhythm

Christian Art: Jesus Risen and Ascended

Jesus-he-is-risenHere’s my lastest Christian art find:

“He Is Risen” – Carol Manasse, 2005.

Carol writes: “This painting portrays the crucified, risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ. The lower third depicts the captive souls snatched from the flames per Ephesians 4:8. The upper third portrays the ascended Christ per the vision of the Apostle John in Revelations chapter 1.”

I think it tells the story very effectively don’t you?

Resurrection and the Missional Impulse

Sunday, a day for remembering. Here are some thoughts on the implications of the resurrection from some other bloggers I’ve stumbled across.

Robert C. Tannehill points out that the resurrection narrative in Luke 24 has a chiastic structure that highlights mission.

Brian Russell makes some similar observations about Luke 24 and adds, “The proclamation of the Resurrection is received with skepticism (24:11). This is worth pondering. Sometimes we think that the ancients were gullible and believed anything.” Resurrection was as anti-intuitive then as it is now.

Tod Bolsinger asks, “If Jesus is risen, then what does that have to do with me?  Is it only something about Jesus or about the “afterlife”? Or does the resurrection mean something that has to do with this world and this life?”

 

The Resurrection and the Perennial Philosophy

Here’s why I think the project of “demythologizing” Christianity is misdirected.

Having studied many religions and the many difficulties that many people have with Christianity it strikes me that the deepest objections that most people have to the resurrection as history are not scientific … but philosophical.

What do I mean? Well just this, that I have come across numerous people who are otherwise accepting of magic, divination, ghosts, energy healing and all sorts of “unscientific” phenomena, who nevertheless find the resurrection of Jesus highly implausible. Quite simply, the resurrection is not compatible with the perennial philosophy – it is too exclusive, it is too unique.

While most scholars searching for the “historical Jesus” may think they are engaged in a scientific quest, the vast bulk of their readers are not, they are on a philosophical quest for Jesus who does not conflict with the Perennial Philosophy. Sure there are genuine atheists out there, but they are the minority. Whether Jesus does miracles or not is not the most significant concern for most, what is, is that any aura of exclusivity or uniqueness is neutralized. Jesus is perfectly acceptable to consumer society as one amongst many ascended masters or one amongst many gods or one amongst many gurus. What is NOT acceptable is a challenge to consumer sovereignty, to consumer choice.

If you accept that then it should become clear that Christians who think a “scientized” Jesus will renew Christianity are barking up the wrong tree. Science is a secondary issue here – it is merely a means to an end where any means will do. What people are seeking is a low commitment Jesus, one who demands nothing but does everything to satisfy consumer demands. Catering to such tastes will not lead to a renewal of Christianity. If we acknowledge that Christ is the centre of Christianity, then any marginalization of Christ represents the disintegration of Christianity. It’s like talking of Hinduism without karma or reincarnation, or Buddhism without the four noble truths and eightfold path, the conversation becomes meaningless.

What I think needs to be recognized is that, yes, Christianity is incompatible with any system that requires the marginalization of Christ. If that warrants its rejection by consumer culture, if that means Christianity will become increasingly marginalized in Europe, America and Australia as a consequence, well that’s just a consequence we have to live with. Allow people the option of rejection. Christian integrity is more important than Christian influence.