Matthew 28:1–8, 1 Corinthians 15:12–23
HE IS RISEN!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy, he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3–4
The cross is the threshold between the fallen life and the Kingdom life. Once we have accepted all that comes with the cross, we step across the threshold. In many ways, we are now in a long state of waiting, yet…He is Risen!
We have the ending. We know the ending. Yet, we wait.
The wait between crossing the threshold and our own resurrection experience can be mere moments (e.g., deathbed salvation) or a really long time (e.g., a child’s salvation until they die). It is not just this day and age that looks at this wait as a very long time. When Paul was writing, they were expecting the end to come soon. Much of what Paul wrote was with the (short) end in mind. There was soon a need to revise their expectations.
Today we still have people who claim the end of the world and Christ’s return is imminent. To God, it is imminent. It is just that God’s time frame is a bit longer than ours. Just like in simpler things (jobs, children, saving), we can get a bit impatient. Many people’s bodies and hearts hurt to such a degree that they would accelerate Christ’s return. Yet, to do so is to deny our responsibility in the waiting.
We are called to walk with the world. They are waiting, too. They are just not aware of what they are waiting for. Just as we get impatient with waiting, so do they. The difference is the power of Christ in us. The power and hope of the resurrection may often be the only things that differentiate us from others. The power and hope of the resurrection may be the only thing that can keep us patient and maintain a positive outlook in this life. The power and hope of the resurrection call to those who wait, but know not what they are waiting for.
1) Does the resurrection really affect how you view this life and the lives of others? If so, how? If not, should it?
2) For the last few generations, the church has used the stick of Hell and the carrot of eternal life to call people into a life with Christ. How does this work with and against the power and hope of the Resurrection?
3) Why is it important to understand that Kingdom life is now, rather than past or future? How does the Resurrection empower the Kingdom life?