“…if they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.”
We are approaching the season when the advent of Jesus will begin to captivate our immediate attention in greater ways. As one out of step with the times, perhaps it is not surprising that I chose (?) today to speak about the Resurrection.
But then again, the Resurrection is somewhat incidental to what I have to say. It is my opinion that Christianity does not begin with a knowledge of the resurrection of Jesus. Christianity really begins with an honest self-evaluation coupled with the realization that “good enough” is not good enough nor is being “as good as most Christians”. Jesus readily stated that many calling themselves Christians are not entering into the Kingdom.
Popular notions about differences in cultures and societies are as falsely magnified to the point of being overblown as televised news coverage. The truth is cultures and societies are more alike than different when it comes to an objective right and wrong. All utilize a standard that is, for the most part, untaught.
I didn’t need my parents, the school system, league rules, or a village to tell me it was wrong to just walk up and club someone over the head with my baseball bat. Still, I knew it was wrong. (It might have satisfied a certain notion that they had it coming, but still, it was wrong, and no amount of rationalizing could make it right.)
Moses outlined for us the divine view of right and wrong. The prophets expanded on the practice of faith and the dangers of taking other paths. Moses and the prophets tell us what is needed to live a life pleasing to God. From their writing, it is clear to an honest person that they do not “measure up”. The standard against which humanity is measured in the judgment of God is God Himself.
To fall short in the minutest detail (to even think a wrong thought) is to fail—there is no grading curve with God. I feel safe in saying no one has measured up yet. God, knowing some of us need to have a picture drawn for us, sent His Son to demonstrate “good enough”. The people who got the picture crucified him.
The rising from the dead demonstrated that the holy example and standard of God could not be killed. We have all seen the signs at public events that read John 3:16. Some of us even know what that Bible verse says.
Submitted for your approval is John 3:17. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” The world and the people living in it are already condemned and the judgment is sealed. We know on some level, there is none righteous, no not one. It doesn’t take one risen from the dead to tell us that.
The one risen from the dead is for those who see the need, the Way out of our predicament. Those who are unconvinced by their own lives and conscience that they have done anything wrong have no need for a way out and are not interested in one risen from the dead.
The Resurrected Christ is the crown jewel of faith. The Cross is the way to win it.