Jesus is our resurrected redeemer

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Then He (Jesus) said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

-- John 20:27

Considering Rome had just crucified Jesus of Nazareth as an insurrectionist, I'd expect his followers to have found other work besides preaching about a dead rebel. Going back to fishing, collecting taxes and other pre-Jesus jobs probably offered less stress and certainly more longevity.

Obviously, it wasn't safe to be a follower of religion's and Rome's enemy. If not before, they figured that out the night Jesus was arrested. Only John was at the cross when Jesus died. The rest were huddled in fear, hiding from the Jewish Sanhedrin and Roman authorities. Besides, crosses were common along the roads that led to Jerusalem, and dying for a dead cause wouldn't bring Jesus back to life.

So why the about-face? What happened to change the whipped wimps of Calvary into the winners of Acts?

Something they didn't expect but should have.

After all, they'd seen Jesus bring Jairus' daughter back to life after she'd died. They'd seen Jesus reverse a funeral procession when he raised up the widow of Nain's son. They'd even seen Jesus' buddy Lazarus hop out of a grave in his burial wrappings.

So the disciples had seen resurrection. But they didn't expect it. Not this time.

John, no doubt, had told the disciples of the agony of the cross. Son of Thunder that he was, he might even have berated them for their cowardice. But the three years of miracles were over for them. The times of feeding multiplied thousands with multiplied fish and loaves were past. The days of walking on water were unbelievable memories, but just that -- memories. Miracles -- blind eyes seeing, deaf ears hearing, paralyzed walking, the dead being raised -- had ended.

The miracle worker, the miracles and the belief that the good life could go on had died. There was no savior left to die for because the savior had died.

Yes, they'd heard Jesus say to Lazarus' sister, Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25)

No, they didn't really believe. We know from the Bible they'd seen at least three resurrected. Yet they needed another dead-raising in order to resurrect their belief that Jesus was God's son. In fact, without Jesus' resurrection, none of us can believe in him for our resurrection. So they needed his resurrection, and we did too.

Did they get it? You betcha! They saw Jesus and talked to him. They felt his nail-scarred hands and pierced side, ate fish and bread with him again, and probably hugged, cried and slobbered all over him. Their belief and lives were resurrected, and they were ready to resurrect the lives of others. Jesus could ascend to the Father because he was leaving the Gospel in the hands of believers.

The three years became a lifetime for the 11. They died what they had feared too much to face at Calvary -- the painful deaths of martyrs, all except the beloved John, who was boiled in oil but couldn't be killed by men's hands. The Bible records some of the Holy Spirit's adventures, healings, and dead-raisings through them in the book of Acts.

And did we get our resurrection too? You betcha! We got the body and blood, the healing and forgiveness, of our Lord Jesus every time we partake of the Lord's Supper. We can commune and communicate with him 24-7. We have a risen redeemer! We have resurrection!

June Seabaugh is a member of Christ Church of the Heartland in Cape Girardeau.

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