WARNING: THIS POST INCLUDES LANGUAGE SOME OF YOU MAY FIND OFFENSIVE.
READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.
Jesus is Alive!
Jesus is Alive IN YOU!
I was reminded of this truth again this week, and feel the need to share the story with you. Here’s what happened: On Monday morning I was riding public transit (BART) to work. I generally spend the commute doing what most of those around me are doing—reading, checking email, or “connecting” on social media. As I did this Monday I came upon a FaceBook post from Sunday afternoon which was a question . . . a very good question! While the friend who posed the question is a skeptic, I sensed this was an honest question—“Why the phrase, He is risen? Why not, He was raised or some such?” As I pondered the question, the doors closed . . . the train was again underway.
I was about 10 minutes from my stop, and I have learned that—with FaceBook as with life—moments come and go quickly: About a week earlier I had seen a post by another friend and wanted to “comment,” but felt I didn’t have time right then; when I went back later that day, her post was gone. Opportunity . . . lost! This post from Sunday afternoon had only a few comments: One asserted it was all myth, another labeled it “a bunch of religious shit,” while a third offered a link to a Wikipedia piece on the origin of the tradition. The question sat . . . unanswered. I thought something like “Jesus, use me” and clicked “comment.” . . .
Put yourself there. If this was your friend, what would you write?
Here is what I wrote:
Good question. And since you asked, it is because he was not merely resuscitated back to this life only to die again, but his body was transformed into a non-perishable one–thus he remains risen. His bodily resurrection tells us this life is not all there is; there is much more–for although he was the first with this experience, he won’t be the only one, such life is available to all as a gift because of him.
Far from myth, such bodily resurrection is “far and away the best historical explanation for the early church” (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope, “The Surprising Story of Easter”).
Feel free to message me if you want more.
Hope you all enjoy a great day in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
I haven’t heard anything more from this friend, but the question and responses are still in his timeline.
After I hit “Post” and was through the exit gate at my station I realized: This was why I had been prompted to read from N.T. Wright the day before (and take note of particular phrases and chapter titles)—not so I could send an email on Sunday afternoon as I had supposed, but so I could respond to this friend’s question! As I walked and thanked Jesus for enabling me to proclaim resurrection truth, I thought on the Sunday prompting, struggles with phrasing, words, and expression and began to understand: Papa used those experiences of Sunday afternoon to prepare me for those fleeting moments on Monday morning, when Jesus would love my friend through me.
Your response to my Monday morning experience might be something like, “John, I can’t write like that!” To which I reply, “Neither can I!” For it really wasn’t “John” who offered that answer, it was Jesus in John. And that is the real point of this email: Papa has prepared you in special ways so—as you face the moments in your day—Jesus in you can be seen by others, heard by others, felt by others. Jesus is putting you in the midst of particular moments because people you will encounter in those moments need Him Who Is Life to show up. And His plan is to show up in you! As He did when a friend was moved (while walking on a rocky beach) to arrange some of the stones into the form of a flower, . . . and as another put paint to canvas, . . . and when . . ..
With all this (and more) fresh in my thoughts, I was moved to joyful tears on Tuesday night through the lyrics of an “oldie” (Naphtali) by John Fischer:
We have the One, Who created the world,
Living inside our bodies.
There should be rivers, mountains, and oceans
Flowing from our lives.
. . .
So let the One, Who created before,
Create again in you.
Songs and poems, painted expressions,
The glories of His Truth
. . .
O God, we thank Thee,
For Thou hast given us of Thy Spirit,
That all our living might be
Expressions of Thy love.
The Resurrection of Jesus occurred in history, but His Resurrection Life is to be lived-out in the fleeting moments of your daily experience—for The Risen One lives in you. He IS risen!
Let Him flow!