5 items tagged "resurrection"

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Redemption at the Place of Pain

Category: Blog
Created on Oct 21 2015

Embers

There are only two places in all of the New Testament where a “charcoal fire” is described in just those words. One is one on which Jesus cooked and to which He welcomed His dripping, wounded friend. The other, the first, was in Caiaphas’ courtyard, at which Peter warmed his hands. There, identified as a Galilean and a friend of Jesus, Peter cursed and denied the man who had prophesied that he would do so. 

Perhaps Jesus prepared just such a fire, recreated a place of painful remembrance where Peter could be healed of his most crippling memory. Two of the post resurrection appearances of Jesus are at table. With a meal, Jesus offered comfort at Emmaus and grace in Galilee. His resurrection meant personal fellowship, renewal of relationship, and a new life free of guilt and condemnation.

When, in our moments of deepest loneliness, we turn to Christ, our comfort is not in the doctrine of the resurrection but in His fellowship with us. That is the message of Emmaus. He listens and explains. He walks with us, breaks bread with us, and comforts us with words of revelation. 

Mercy and Zeal in the Church

Category: Blog
Created on Jul 01 2015

Zealot

Humor is where you find it, and I have always thought the team name for Wake Forest University’s sports program is an absolute riot. The Demon Deacons! You gotta love it. It reminds me of my early days refereeing in the Washington, D.C. area. The sports headlines generated by the parochial schools were a scream.

Blessed Virgin Stomps St. Pius X 

or

Bishop Gonzaga Ends Dream for Immaculate Conception 

But I suppose my all-time favorite is this one, from the South.

Demon Deacons Prepare for Physical Test at Citadel

Most football teams want their teams named for fearsome beasts of prey. Eagles, Bears, Tigers and … Demon Deacons? When you think of it that way, lions and hawks don’t look very scary. But a demonic church leader? That is to be feared!

The Resurrection: Theologians, So Called

Category: Blog
Created on Apr 01 2015

Easter Cross

Did Jesus mean it literally? Perhaps He referred only to the great resurrection, in which, by the way, the Pharisees fully believed. Regardless, the religious leaders could take no chances on His followers stealing the dead body and faking a resurrection. Guards were posted and the tomb was sealed (Matthew 27:62-66). Both proved useless. 

Those same guards were bribed (with “large money,” Matthew says) to perjure themselves by claiming that just such a conspiracy had indeed happened, that the dead body had been stolen by zealots and a fraud was about to be perpetrated (Matthew 28:11-15).

Liberal theologians have relentlessly continued the attack for two thousand years. Some have claimed that the resurrection was not physical but communal. In other words, they would have us believe that Jesus’ followers wanted so badly for Him to be alive that in the space between them they just made it so. These “theologians,” so called, claim that Jesus’ resurrection was not bodily but cultural and emotional, a shared hope so desperately held among them that it became “real” in their hearts, but not in His body. In 1967, one writer, Hugh Schonfield, even went so far as to endorse the testimony of the bribed guards in a book called The Passover Plot. According to Schonfield, the vinegar-soaked sponge lifted to Jesus on the cross was actually filled with a drug powerful enough to simulate death. He further claimed that Joseph of Arimathea rescued Jesus before He died, later resuscitating Him for “postresurrection” appearances. 

Why all the desperate effort to discredit the bodily resurrection of Jesus? Because His resurrection is all our hope, the ground of all true faith in Christ. He died and rose again. He did not nearly die, He did not rise from the dead merely in the minds of His followers or in the hearts and affections of His friends. His resurrection was not an idea or a wish. It is a fact. His scars still visible, He rose physically.

The Resurrection: Life Beyond Transition

Category: Blog
Created on Mar 25 2015

Spring Bloom

Life is the history that precedes a death. Death is the history that comes before a resurrection. The resurrected life is born out of death, even as that same life was once born from the womb, and before that from the loins of two others. It is amazing that the resurrection scrapes at the rationalistic nerves of unbelievers. Amazing, because it is so in line with rest of life’s transitions.

A new life is created as one new body from two others. That new body then resides in fluid, a fish-like human, nine months in the waters of its primal baptism. If that baby were to breathe as it will one day breathe, it would die. The moment that human escapes its watery history, it dies to that historical state and can never go back to being able to live for more than a few moments under water. For nine months that new life, “buried” in water, develops into its birth form in liquid security, insulated against what lies ahead.

At birth, that ends. Out into the blazing light and frigid cold of a stainless steel delivery room, a smack on the butt and a hearty scream, and the atmosphere is sucked into unused little lungs. From the warm comfort of a water womb into a wider, harsher world, that tiny life must die to one place before it can burst kicking and squalling into another. 

All of life is a chain of transition. From a seed comes new life. From the womb comes the child.  From the child, the adolescent, and from there, to adulthood with any luck at all. The fruitful, productive adult grows elderly, a fading remnant of itself. The doorway of death leads to another realm and the form fit for that environment. Transition leads to transition, form giving way to form in the flow of life that leads to life. 

First Fruits

Category: Blog
Created on Apr 16 2014

First Fruits

Excerpt from
RESURRECTION
by Dr. Mark Rutland

An unconscious child was rescued from the bottom of a swimming pool. Her terrified parents and concerned onlookers watched in agony as a lifeguard expertly gave her mouth-to-mouth. When water gurgled up and, coughing and sucking in breath, the girl sat up and opened her eyes, the crowd cheered and her parents wept with joy.

She was resuscitated. Where there was no breath, breath came again. One might say she was more dead than alive. Unable to breathe, her little lungs flooding with water, she would have been dead soon enough. But she was not dead.

A friend of mine bought a dilapidated house that I thought beyond hope. Unwilling to discourage him, I said nothing, but I