The early church was launched into the world with the news of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Jesus had defeated death and promised that those who belong to Him would also live with him forever. In other words, Jesus promised that death isn’t the final chapter, but it’s a spring board into never ending life.
Before you read any further answer these three questions:
- How is the story of Jesus a powerful message?
- How is the story of the resurrection in direct opposition to the ways of the world?
- How as the resurrection changed you?
The early church learned very quickly that the preaching of the resurrection made them rebels in the world they lived in. Their allegiances weren’t to Rome and the Emperor. But, as they proclaimed the defeat of death in Jesus’ rising from the dead, as they proclaimed Jesus Lord, they were overthrowing the powers of the world. Their message of good news was undoing the authorities and powers that tried to squash their very movement. Christianity wasn’t popular because it made disciples nice and good citizens. Christianity was illegal, because it was considered scandalous. Christians weren’t nice people for niceness sake, they lived as citizens of another world and were considered rebels because of their allegiance to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Just so we are clear, we aren’t part of a boring social club that requires its members to come three times a week and pay her dues. We aren’t part of a social club at all, and the adventure that I read about that is called following Jesus isn’t boring at all.
God became a fetus. He entered the world the same way we do. His first gulp of the air was a babies cry. He knew dirty diapers and nose congestion. The most powerful being in the Universe, had to be fed, and burped and bathed. He parted stormy seas, and spoke in a still small voice. God fed the masses in the wilderness with dew from heaven, and again with 5 small loaves and two small fish. It was as if the care given to him as a helpless babe, mimicked the care He provides to all of us.
God was one of us. He understands our weakness and knows our struggles. He touched disease, and hugged lepers. He raised the dead. He is the author of Life!
God uses the imperfect. Pay attention to the first few folks who lined up to walk with him. Fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, traitors. You couldn’t have asked for a more diverse cast of characters and yet here we are the products of persecution and faithful Jesus preaching.
The cross isn’t the final word. Three days later the cross’ power is revealed as burial clothes lay folded in half, and the tomb was body less. The one who became a baby, now was birthed once again, only this time it wasn’t from a peasant teenagers’ womb, but from the borrowed tomb of a friend.
We aren’t part of a boring Sunday gathering, but we are resurrection people, sharing a resurrection hope. A hope that God is continuing to work in the world to put the world back to rights. We resurrection junkies unable to navigate life’s stormy vale without the promise of life everlasting!