From the pulpit: The real resurrection question
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2006
The real question of the resurrection, the real question of the crucifixion, the real question that Thomas, the great doubter can&8217;t bring himself to answer, the real question of Christianity &8212; is simply this: &8220;Was Jesus right?&8221;
Was Jesus right?
Was he right about how he lived, about what he taught, about how he died?
Was Jesus right about his own faith in God?
That&8217;s the real question, plain and simple. Was Jesus right?
Jesus says that God has taken new mercy on the world, while at the same time raising the standard of expectations that God has for humanity.
It&8217;s not enough to say the right things or posture toward the right things. It&8217;s not enough to love just the people you want to love.
The new standard is to take up a cross, lay down one&8217;s life, and serve others while telling the truth, accepting abuse, and even death, if necessary, in order to follow Jesus down the road to God and the kingdom of heaven and to do so while never returning evil for evil.
Jesus says that we are here to be neighbors, servants of each other, companions and witnesses, not passengers or spectators.
Not everyone who says, &8220;Lord, Lord&8221; will enter the kingdom of heaven but those who entrust themselves to God and love others, even at the cost of their own hurt.
Jesus tells us to pray for peace and to be peace makers at the same time, fully knowing how dangerous that is.
Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, even while we know few people will not love us back.
Jesus says God keeps an eye on every one of us, so that our needs will always be met and even our death will be in peace.
Jesus says no one can take the most valuable things in life from you, even if they take all our possessions and our lives as well.
And Jesus said if we live this way, we will find an utter joy that living selfishly just never can bring.
And then Jesus did something outrageous.
He lived that way, the way we say is impossible. Then he did something even more outrageous, he died that way.
The crucifixion was obviously the world&8217;s way of saying Jesus was wrong, even dangerously so.
We all know how the world
works. You have to fight fire with fire. We know that people never change.
We all know that you are better off with a good right hook, a big bank account, a sharp lawyer or a big army than you are with all the prayers in the world. That&8217;s the way the world works.
You look out for No. 1, and you take care of yourself, your family and your friends. Helping people who don&8217;t love you is stupid.
They will take all you can give because they just don&8217;t care. The idea of putting yourself at risk to make the world a better place is just cruelly naive. Loving your enemies is flatly insane.
And when Jesus&8217; disciples took off like rockets when he was arrested is a clear sign that, whether they wanted to admit it or not, they too thought Jesus was wrong.
The only ones who opened their mouths did so in order to deny him.
And let&8217;s face it, when we are pressed, when we find life hard and our faith in God is challenged, we all tend to think that Jesus was wrong, at least in our situation, because we think that surely, surely, he had no idea that one day there would a situation like the one I am in.
We try to hide that thought from ourselves and from God most of the time, but it&8217;s pretty evident. We all know what that&8217;s like.
The resurrection is God&8217;s clear word that Jesus was indeed right &8212; in his words, his life, his death and his trust in God.
His way is the way of true life, the life that never ends, which is why the tomb was empty