I believe that Jesus was dead, buried, descended to hell and on the third day He rose from the dead. I believe when He rose again it wasn’t just an idea in someone’s mind; it wasn’t as some disembodied spirit floating around. I believe that when Jesus rose from the dead, He rose in a physical form that I cannot explain or fully understand. He could eat and be touched but yet there was something about Him that kept Mary and others from recognizing Him. I believe in the empty tomb and in the promise of eternal life the Resurrection brings.
I don’t simply hope that the Resurrection is true. I don’t see the Resurrection as just another statement to recite in an ancient creed. I believe when we gather on Easter morning, we proclaim the Resurrection of Jesus to be true and the promise that one day we too will experience the eternal life the Resurrection brings. I believe in the Resurrection. In fact, my whole faith is based on the promise of it. Everything I believe and everything I teach finds its meaning and roots in the Resurrection.
But what if the Resurrection means something more than resurrection of the dead? What if the Resurrection means more than some fulfillment of a promise about a future life yet to come? What if the Resurrection is also about resurrection for the living? What if the Resurrection promises not just life, but new life, abundant life, right here and right now?
This is how it was for the first Christians. Resurrection wasn’t just about what happens after we die, it was a celebration of life here and now. The image used most for Resurrection is found in a letter that Peter wrote, “God has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3). The early Christ followers understood Resurrection to also mean “new birth.”
I love it! Of all the images Peter could have used, he chose to use the image of new birth. With death and rebirth, you can start over. It’s not just about babies. It’s speaking of a clean slate; it’s speaking of a fresh day. It is speaking of Resurrection.
The Good News of the Resurrection is that today, no matter what you have done in the past, no matter how far you might have wandered from God, no matter how big the slip-up or sin or mistake was…you don’t have to live there anymore. Divorced? Addiction? Lies? Cheating? Unfaithfulness? You name it, the Resurrection declares that you matter…that you can have a clean slate, a fresh day and a new birth. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “the old has died, behold the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!