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March 23, 2015, 2:49 PM

Correct Tense


There have been countless arguments over whether or not Jesus literally rose from the dead.

Skeptics have pointed out that even the biblical claims are inconsistent.  None of the gospel accounts entirely agrees with any of the others.  I invite you to read them.  They don't.  However, if differing accounts automatically disproves the Resurrection, then it should also disprove the Kennedy assassination.  How many differing accounts and theories are there concerning that event?

"Yes," counter the skeptics, "But we know JFK is dead, because we have it on film, and we have the body." There are some far-out conspiracy theorists who claim that it was a JFK look alike who took the bullets in Dallas.

If  the presence of a corpse is proof of Kennedy's death, what do we take from the absence of one in Jesus' Resurrection?  Skeptics  and  opponents of that time could have pointed to his occupied grave as proof he was dead.  There is no evidence they did so.

The truth is that these arguments will not likely convince anyone one way or another.  Frankly, it wouldn't matter if Jesus rose and emerged from the tomb  in front of a cheering crowd of thousands, if that didn't change our lives.

The only meaningful  evidence that  Jesus lives, is found in the lives of those who profess to follow him.

Many years ago, I upset a woman in a church I was serving by saying, "If they found the body of Jesus tomorrow, I would still be a follower of Jesus the day after tomorrow."  She thought I was somehow denying the Resurrection.  I wasn't.  I was affirming my devotion to Jesus.

She then gave me a book into which she had taped a 3x5 card with what she called "Proof of the Resurrection."  They were various Scripture passages.  The reality is that those passages didn't provide "proof."  They did provide evidence, but that's different. None of them would convince a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic.  And in the end, even if we had absolute proof, with which no one could argue,  it wouldn't matter, if people's lives weren't transformed because of Jesus.

There is no denying that Jesus is a uniquely powerful character in history, but I cannot think of a single individual who met such a catastrophic end...denounced by the crowds and the religious and political establishments and abandoned by his closest friends...and then went on to have anything remotely approaching the impact on the world that Jesus has had.  Not even close.

The proclamation of Easter is not, "Jesus rose."  It is, "Christ IS risen"  Present tense.  He lives here and now.  He lives because people find true life in him and have their own lives transformed, as a result.  He lives when we practice and share the astonishing love which he embodied, for which he lived and died.  If we live in ways that reflect his teaching and example, then he lives.

As the old hymn declares...

You ask me how I know he lives?

He lives within my heart!

If he doesn't live in our hearts, then it doesn't matter that he lives...or lived.

Does he make a real difference in your life?  Does your life make a difference in the world, because of him?

The Resurrection isn't a matter of past tense.  We must repeat the miracle, by giving Jesus life in our time, in our lives.  Be a part of the ongoing miracle!  Let the Risen Christ transform you, and transform the world through you.

You are the only proof of the Resurrection that matters.


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