Recently I was shocked when one of the leaders of a major Christian Church inMelbourne, in an Easter message printed in one of the biggest daily newspapers inAustralia, said, when referring to Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday, “there was no physical resurrection”.
This statement was under a heading entitled “Hope and Faith”. The reverend doctor then suggested that Easter “means an awakening to the best in the human spirit … like a resurrection of the whole personality”. Quite honestly, I do not have a clue what he is trying to say. All I know is that what he seems to be saying is not part of the faith I have.
Romans 8.11, reads. “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then He who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through His Spirit dwelling in you”. Our resurrection, like His own, includes the resurrection of our souls and bodies.
The same paper had a question and answer feature asking people what they would be doing at Easter. Of those interviewed, three said, it is just another long weekend for me; two said that it was about Easter eggs; whilst another said, “Sorry God, I’m an atheist”. I suppose I am not saying anything new, but we have what we have. The problem for many of us is that we have to live in a culture where these kinds of opinions are in a majority. It has to be very hard to practice one’s faith in an atmosphere where even major churches reject the most fundamental precept of Christian faith; that Jesus rose from the dead and, because of that, we also will rise from the dead – Body and Soul.
Now back to our newspaper statement. The writer starts his article moaning at the “divisiveness of religious faiths”. What is he talking about? Who is he talking to? Our Christian faith has not changed in the last 2,000 years. We are criticised as being old fashioned and unchanging. However, we continue to believe what has been given to us by Jesus Himself, by His Apostles and by the early church. When you have the faith of Christ you do not have to say that “psychologists and psychoanalysts do not use such a term” as the Resurrection of Jesus. One must be strong in one’s own faith to survive in the religious “market place” today.
Consider this, if there is no Resurrection then asSt Paulsays our faith is empty; we are still in our sins, our loved ones, who have fallen asleep, have perished. We have no hope; we must all be pitied. Love stops at death and God’s love cannot reach beyond the grave. There is no justice; truth, virtue and goodness will remain crucified forever (refer to 1 Cor.15: 17-19).
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead …. For as by man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15, 20-22).
Because Jesus has been raised our faith is not futile, our sins are forgiven, those who have fallen asleep continue to live. There is justice because God’s love does reach beyond the grave
We Ukrainians do not debate the Resurrection. We have experienced it first hand in our own lives. Ukraineand the Church were oppressed, some said they were dead. But Christ has turned our Good Friday into Easter Sunday. Ukrainelives, our church is alive and it continues to teach hope to all of us.
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