There are some who question the importance of Jesus’ literal resurrection. They say, "Why do we hold onto these superstitious notions of a bodily resurrection? It’s not needed. It is enough that Jesus rose spiritually and lives in the hearts of his followers. That is sufficient." Is it sufficient? Not according to Jesus’ disciples. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, "But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain." Sounds pretty strong, doesn’t it?
In these days, people seem to suffer from the great disconnect. They do not put the pieces together. For example, a person who consistently makes unwise choices in their life (alcohol, drugs, bad relationships) seems surprised that those choices have consequences for themselves and their family. Choices always have consequences. The great disconnect with Jesus happens on two fronts. 1) The necessity of the resurrection to the early believers is not important to many today, and 2) If Jesus is God, doesn’t that mean something for us?
Right now, since we just celebrated Easter, let’s tackle the first front: Is the physical resurrection of Jesus important to us? The disciples sure thought so. Paul says that if there is no resurrection then faith is futile. What type of faith do we really want? Sometimes, I get the impression that we are happy with false hopes and so a faith that only helps in this life is just fine with us. That is the modern agnosticism. In essence our world says, "Since we can’t really know about the afterlife and God, it doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as it gives you some comfort or hope." What a futile and fatalistic approach to life.
The Christian disciples refused to settle for something that pointless. They saw all around them bankrupt philosophies. Paganism and Polytheism were obvious dead ends – the gods were worse than humans! Judaism had become a political system where compromise reigned supreme. I am sure that many true believers were disillusioned by their leaders and their willingness to give up the commands of God to keep the political landscape from turmoil.
In Jesus the disciples found something different. This is why they felt such despair at the crucifixion. It was all over. It was just another pointless exercise in religion. That is what Jesus was until the resurrection. Suddenly there was a change. A transformation had taken place. It wasn’t a dead end road. It wasn’t a political machine bent on maintaining the status quo. Jesus was a real person, who really gave life, and who really rose from the dead! That’s why they would not settle for a mirage or spirit Jesus raising from the dead. They had experienced the real thing. They wanted everyone to know – a fake Jesus is no hope at all. Only the real, living Jesus would do. Only He could give hope. Only He could give life.
What about you? Have you experienced or are experiencing the Great Disconnect? Have you accepted the modern agnosticism? Would you like something better? Would you like a truth that matters if it is true? That is what you find in the real Jesus. He arose – that is our hope. It is a real hope. It is a hope that changes life.