Devon Dick: Resurrection of Jesus still relevant today
This past Sunday, most Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus the Christ from the dead. This is a foundational belief of the Christian Faith. If Christ be not raised from the dead, then Christianity is a futile religion. It would mean that death is the end of our existence. It would mean that some people who get a raw deal in this life would have no hope after death.
It would mean that life is just the luck of the draw, with some getting months to live while others get years or even decades. It means that when ISIS, on March 22, blew up an airport lounge and subway train in Brussels, Belgium, killing more than 30 persons, they would have won because persons who are agents of death would have had the last say over those lives. It would mean that that the gunmen who killed eight persons in one week in St James would have had the last laugh as merchants of death.
In the gospel of John, there are about 10 miracles, including turning water into wine at the wedding feast, healing of an official's son, Jesus walking on water, healing of the man born blind, the raising of Lazarus from the dead, and the greatest miracle of all - the resurrection of Jesus. With one exception, all who were raised from the dead, including Lazarus, are now dead. Only Jesus claims to be resurrected and is alive forever more.
Jesus foretold his resurrection from the dead when he told the Jews he would give one sign that ought to be evidence as satisfactory to them that he was from God, as the miraculous preservation of Jonah was to the Ninevites. As Jonah was miraculously preserved three days and then restored alive, so Jesus would be raised from the dead after three days.
This belief in the resurrection of Jesus is no blind faith irrespective of the evidence. It is not wishful thinking in the face of reality. It is a faith that is based on reasonable evidence of eyewitness reports. After the crucifixion of Jesus, His disciples returned to their work feeling that Jesus was not the Messiah. However, that changed when the resurrected Jesus appeared to them on different occasions. Thomas, as any good sceptic wondered if he was seeing a ghost and demanded to touch Jesus. Jesus also appeared to 500 more persons. After these appearances the once-afraid disciples became bold; those who returned to work left their jobs to become full-time missionaries. The resurrection of Jesus made the difference.
The resurrection of Jesus is a reasonable belief based on what happens in nature. A seed has to die in order to germinate and produce fruit. There is life after death and nature teaches that. No wonder the Psalmist exclaimed the heavens declare the glory of God. God seems to be teaching us from nature concerning Christian doctrine. For example, the trinity, God existing as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is mirrored in water which can exist as liquid, solid and gas. It appears that persons who claim that the origin of the world started from non-life leading to life need to show one example in nature where non-life leads to life.
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead means that life ultimately triumphs over death and Jesus has conquered the last enemy of human kind; that is, death. It means that good will eventually overcome the Evil One and evildoers, and that in the long run truth will trounce falsehood every time.
Let us find hope in this life and the life to come by believing in the resurrection of Jesus.
- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'. Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.