From the chair:
“For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
-1 Corinthians 15:16-20
Yesterday in “from the desk” I said I admired Hegel for clear and bold thinking and writing–well, I was reminded that that’s even more true of 1 Corinthians 15, which is not afraid to say that if Jesus hasn’t been raised from the dead, following Jesus isn’t “almost as good anyway.” If that’s not true, then following Jesus isn’t worth it. Thankfully, it is true. Jesus has been raised from the dead. He is, in fact, the first fruits from the dead, the promise that we too will be raised back to life, better than ever before.
From the desk:
“we cannot simply regard this as a problem at which we simply shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Well, there are different views on these topics.’ What we say about death and resurrection gives shape and color to everything else. If we are not careful, we will offer merely a ‘hope’ that is no longer a surprise, no longer able to transform lives and communities in the present, no longer generated by the resurrection of Jesus himself and looking forward to the promised new heavens and new earth.”
-N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, kindle loc. 534
I may have picked that verse before; I may have picked this quote before. I may even have written this whole blog post before, but I’m not particularly worried about that. I need this reminder. We believe something drastic: We believe that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and that we, Christ’s people, will be raised from the dead, too. Only this drastic hope is enough to say “It’s worth it. There is a point. There is a deliverance, yet unseen, worth striving for still.” The worst stains will be washed off this world; the constantly victorious death will be thrown down for good. We believe something hard to believe, but God, in his grace, has helped us to believe it, and it is only this drastic faith that offers such a drastic hope for such a glorious future.