Witnesses to Resurrection
†††††† ďIf they wonít listen to Moses and the prophets, they wonít be convinced †††††† even if someone were to rise from the dead.Ē (Luke 16:31)
This remark, which appears at the end of the parable in Lukeís gospel about the rich man and the beggar, should explain a lot.† It seems that many people think that if Jesus were to appear today ó letís say in the middle of our own towns and cities ó there would be mass conversions.† Or others might say that if the risen Christ appeared to them in person they would surely believe and get serious about their religion.† But I think the history proves things really donít work that way.† Instead it is the other way around, with the truth of the risen Christ becoming evident only to those who are really serious about their religion.
†††††† Why is this so?† Well, for one I suppose it is because faith comes to us by way of invitation.† And that invitation may only come to those who will appreciate it.† Did not Jesus warn us not to cast our pearls before swine or to give the food meant for children to the dogs?† If so, then it stands to reason that God is not going to offer the highest truths to those who are most likely to only scoff or reject them.† Indeed the gospels do not tell us that the risen Jesus appeared to any of his enemies but only to his followers who although they may have doubted at first were at least open to being convinced that what had seemed impossible had indeed happened.
†††††† But notice something else: God does send out invitations, at least by way of hints given through his spokesman such as Moses and the prophets.† This is why Jesus appointed certain of his disciples as emissaries or, as we call them, ďapostles.Ē† Indeed we might say that the primary proof of the resurrection of Jesus is to be found in these men who were so convinced that Jesus had risen from the dead that they wagered the whole future of their lives on this conviction even though their reward in this life was only pain and suffering.
†††††† And so it goes today.† The proof of Christís resurrection is not to be found in visions or revelations.† Instead, it must be found today in the lives of Christians.† In this way God relies on us to prove the truth of Christís resurrection.† In fact, St. Paul has told us that unless we rise from the dead neither has Christ risen, and that if Christ has not risen then our own faith is useless or is in vain.
†††††† But there is a hitch. Resurrection is not so much about what happens to us or to our bodies after we die.† Instead, resurrection is first of all about the kind of life we live now ó a life in which we have become dead to sin and live on new level of life that is patterned on or lived in the footsteps of Jesus.† Resurrection in the physical sense, whenever it is, remains a mystery.† Even the gospels canít seem to agree on exactly what took place or how it happened.† Perhaps that is all beside the point.† Ultimately, resurrection is not about death but life, life as it is lived now but in a way that leads to unending or eternal life beyond all present comprehension.
R W Kropf 3/22/08††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Resurrection 08.† Doc