The Reality of the Living Christ

1 Corinthians 15:20-26

What difference does Christ’s resurrection make? Does it matter whether it really happened? Would people all over the world still believe Jesus’ teachings about life and faith if it didn’t? Would they still follow his example?

Think about Jesus’ early followers in the aftermath of his death. They are disheartened to the point of despair and fear their future. Abandoning the new way of life they had joyfully embraced with great expectations is tempting. Their hope shatters as they absorb the reality of Jesus’ death. But when they dare to believe the reality of the resurrection, all of this changes.

Paul proclaims that the reality of the living Christ is the key to recovering their hope. As these Christians begin to think of Jesus as more than a memory, they start speaking of him in the present tense: Jesus Christ is Lord! Early followers begin to see the resurrection as more than something that happened only to Jesus. They begin to see it as a promise that, “because he lives, we shall live also” (Jn 14:19). Christ’s resurrection provides the power to form a new humanity that continues to be shaped into his likeness. God calls followers of Jesus to live in the present with a confidence and hope based on Christ’s victory over death. Tragically, many continue to live defeated lives, as if the resurrection did not happen. Yet to those in whom the Spirit of the risen Christ abides, irrepressible hope and courage will arise.

Consider

How does belief in Christ’s resurrection help you face the inevitability of death without fear? In what ways does it bring you new hope in the possibilities of your life today?

Pray

God, bring new hope to life in me so I can face the uncertain future and the challenges of the present. Amen.

This post originally appeared in Volume 29.3 of Reflections.

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