But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead…. (1 Cor. 15:20)
In today’s scripture, Paul’s saying that the resurrection of Jesus isn’t simply a belief, it’s a fact. What gives Paul this assurance are two things: First, the resurrected Jesus did speak to him when Paul was on his way to kill some early Christians in Damascus. Second, Paul knows that he wouldn’t be able to do all he was doing without the resurrected Jesus at his side. As we look at Paul’s absolute conviction, we might be tempted to have some longing, some desire, maybe even a little envy that we could have such conviction for ourselves.
This past Sunday, a few of us started a bible study by Zoom. I started by reading the story of Thomas from the first Easter night, when he said that he wouldn’t believe in Jesus until he put his hands into Jesus’ wounded hands and side. Thomas demanded to have evidence before he would believe.
As the participants talked about how much they, too, would like to have such sure evidence of Jesus’ resurrection, it suddenly occurred to me that each one of them was walking and talking evidence of what they were longing for. I knew enough about their stories, their struggles, their losses, that I was able to see that despite everything they were still living, believing, hoping, making a difference.
I said to them, “All of you are evidence of the resurrection of Jesus.” Initially they looked shocked and surprised. But then I could see that they understood and agreed.
The hope in what I said to them is also yours to claim. If you want assurance of Jesus’ resurrection, I would invite you to look deeply at your own life. You, too, are walking and talking evidence of the resurrection. Would you have survived what you have gone through, would you have been able to carry on after being hurt or neglected or betrayed, would you have prevailed through your own stories, struggles, and issues without Jesus? Just like Paul could say that the resurrection is a “fact,” so can you.
Even though these are difficult days, even though so many have lost so much, even though we don’t know when this virus will be cured or this shut-down will end, even though our courage, resilience, and patience are being stretched, even though we don’t know what life will look like on the other end of this epidemic, the hope we can stand upon is that the resurrected Jesus who has brought us this far will continue to remain and not leave us, hold and not abandon us, carry and not forsake us.
- If you remembered and claimed that you were the walking and talking evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, how would your life change?
- How has Jesus lifted you up, helped you, supported you, forgiven you, strengthened you, found you, healed you, and loved you during your life?
- How do you need the resurrected Jesus right now during these hard times? What gifts do you need from Him?