Resurrection a reality, or just another passion play?

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Today, we celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the crux of Christianity … It cannot be without it.

John 20 Resurrection!

1-2 Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

3-10 Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

11-13 But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

13-14 “They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.

15 Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

16 Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”

17 Jesus said, “Don’t cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'”

18 Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her. To Believe

19-20 Later on that day, the disciples had gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” Then he showed them his hands and side.

20-21 The disciples, seeing the Master with their own eyes, were exuberant. Jesus repeated his greeting: “Peace to you. Just as the Father sent me, I send you.”

22-23 Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. “Receive the Holy Spirit,” he said. “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”

24-25 But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.” But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

27 Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

28 Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

29 Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

30-31 Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way he personally revealed it.

The Gospels tell us a lot about the remarkable and hard to fathom things that Jesus said and did during his three years of ministry. However, it is interesting to note that in the rest of the New Testament these things are hardly mentioned again. ALL of the emphasis is on his death and resurrection which are referred to about 100 times. Much of the message of the New Testament – our present relationship with the living Jesus, his presence and transforming power in our lives, the final defeat of evil, our future hope – is related to the resurrection. The cross and resurrection are central to virtually all known forms of early Christianity. It follows, therefore, that if the resurrection never happened, we are left with the alternatives of either proclaiming a message that is based on a lie, or radically altering what the early Christians were on about. As John S. Whale put it in Christian Doctrine: “Belief in the resurrection is not an appendage to the Christian faith: it is the Christian faith. The Gospels cannot explain the resurrection; it is the resurrection which alone explains the Gospels!”

Personally, I would have shortened all this emphasis on the cruelty of the crucifixion and prolonged the reaction of the people to the reality of the resurrection, and to see how people are responding to Jesus today. For example, for the nonbelievers, did the resurrection make an everlasting impression or did it eventually become just another unexplainable event in the life of the lost. Conversely, for those who believed, did the resurrection make a “living” difference in their lives for the better, or were they still living in fear and awestruck by the crucifixion? Sown to brass tacks as it were, did the people continue to see Jesus lifelessly lying in a borrowed tomb, or was he resurrected in their lives, resurrected in their marriages, resurrected in their homes, resurrected in their communities, resurrected in their churches, resurrected in their jobs, and resurrected in their Christian faith.

Two thousands years later, we have to ask, “Is the resurrection of Jesus a reality in your life or is it just another well-performed passion play?” As contemporary Christians, the Easter, when we live in the reality of the resurrection, our dimmed eyes and dull souls are lifted to a place of eternal joy and everlasting hope to give us a better attitude and brighter outlook on life. It is the hinge of life itself!

Jesus is our resurrected redeemer!

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3 Responses to “Resurrection a reality, or just another passion play?”

  1. Thanks for the insightful post. While many Christians travel to the actual Passion Play for a deeply pensive ritual, it’s good to see spirituality and faith exercised within one’s own heart.

  2. I tend to agree. The reason why I believe a lot of people tend to go to rituals such as the Passion Play…or even head out to Oberammergau (for the one that only performs every 10 years) is due to the fact that people either want to see what happened during that period where they made Christ carry his cross, die on it, then rise from it mere days later. That alone would garner some sort of inner feelings regardless of one’s level of belief.

  3. Passion plays are important in teaching Christian traditions in a more visual way. Although a play may not be exactly how it happens or what it says in the bible, it can be a lot more interesting than gospel readings and give another good prospective.

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