Sunday, April 10, 2011

1 Cor 15:12-14 - the Resurrection

Scripture 1 Cor 15:12-14
Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.


It is an indisputable fact that in these great Easter stories what is being witnessed to, is the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Now mind you, not simply the resuscitation of a corpse, like the resuscitation of Lazarus. Nevertheless a bodily resurrection.

We mean these stories aren’t just nice literary symbols. That they point to the fact that Jesus has gone to be with God the Father. They are not just symbolic accounts detailing the fact that the cause of Jesus goes on. Not just ways of talking about how Jesus continues to inspire His followers. Yes that is precisely what I mean and it means none of that. It means none of that.

What is being declared here is that Jesus rose bodily from the dead and is living a new and transformed life making that life available to us His followers.

Christians, you can sense it on every page of the New Testament.

Look, if all they meant by the resurrection was His cause goes on or it’s another concocted myth of a dying and rising god, if that is all they meant nobody would have taken them seriously. And their excitement would not have come through on every page of the New Testament because they would have been saying some old story.

Instead what we hear is the fact that they were bowled over by something entirely new, something entirely unexpected.
New life. A new embodied life made possible through God’s grace.

Somehow, everything they ever thought about the world had to be re-thought. Everything they had ever imagined as basic had to be re-imagined. Every road they walked down, they had to walk down a new way in light of this startling fact of Jesus risen bodily from the dead.

We can hear it in one of Peters great sermons in the Acts of the Apostles. Listen to what he says.

They killed Him finally hanging Him on a tree only to have God raise Him up on the third day and grant that He be seen not by all but only by such witnesses as had been chosen beforehand by God. By us who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.

How come the risen Jesus appeared only to a few?

Peter says it here that He didn’t appear to everyone. The risen Christ did not appear on the top of the Mount of Olives and make Himself universally available. He didn’t appear to Pontius Pilate, didn’t appear to Herod, didn’t appear to all of His persecutors. How come Jesus only appeared only to some, only to a few?

John Henry Newmans answer I think is wonderful.

Newman says it’s because He appeared for the sake of mission!
He wanted this news to go to the end of the world and indeed it has. If He had appeared universally, to everybody, what would have happened? Some would have been interested, some not. Some would have gotten it, some wouldn’t have. Some would have been inspired and then lost faith. But he appeared to a small coterie who knew Him, who loved Him, who had listened to Him, who ate and drank with Him after He rose from the dead.

He appeared to that small group because He wanted to announce His Word to the world and that announcement would happen through the punchy and clear quality of this small group.
Mission was His purpose.

So Christians on this Easter Sunday, let us be aware of the fact that Jesus is giving us the same mission. We who eat and drink with Him on a regular basis whenever we gather for the Liturgy we are eating and drinking with the Risen Christ. He appears to us, so to speak, for the same purpose. That we might be galvanised in this mission to announce this startling fact - Jesus risen from the dead - which changes everything. Changes the way you think, live see, act. Changes the hope that you have for this embodied and transformed spiritual life on high.

Announce it today.
Announce it for the rest of your life.
That is the call of Easter and God bless you.

Source: transcribed from the MP3 - Fr Robert Barron - Word On Fire – sermon 326 (Easter Sunday 2007)

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