The Lynch Pin Of Faith
Risk is sometimes associated with life-threatening stunts or gambling on the stock market. Risk-takers often act in ways which could put their economic future or life itself on the line. The prudent person can hedge a risk. The wise person mixes safety with risk and chance with certitude but there are some risks which cannot be tempered and some events in life can take us beyond a point of no return.
Faith in the resurrection was one of those risks for early Christians. People gossiped about and plotted against those who held that Jesus rose from the dead. The idea was so absurd and laughable to non-Christians that those who believed were often ridiculed and shunned, even persecuted. But that did not stop the wise faithful from taking a risk and spreading a lynch pin message of faith that shocked and changed the world.
With Friday sunset heralding the beginning of the Sabbath, Jesus needed to be buried quickly and, since the Sabbath continued until after sunset on Saturday, the women could not tend to His body with the customary spices then either, so they rested as God commanded in His Law. It was Sunday morning before the women could complete the requirements for appropriate burial. This was a social expectation amongst the Jews, an act of charity. When the women returned to do this, it was not only out of love for the Master but out of a sense of social responsibility. However, what they saw thrust them into a completely new realm. The women experienced a revelation and the past words of Jesus had been fulfilled – but the women were not believed at first.
Peter’s amazement at the sight of the empty tomb was like that of the women who were puzzled and fearful. His amazement prepared him for the revelation he was to receive in Luke 24:36-42 when Jesus appeared to the apostles. Their initial alarm and fright became joy “so great that they still could not believe it and stood there dumbfounded” when He showed them His nail marked hands and feet.
The appearance of the Lord caused strong mixed feelings among his first followers. The women’s testimony caused scepticism, even cynicism, among the disciples. The thought of Resurrection was so counter-intuitive that it seemed impossible. Why then did faith in the Risen Lord flourish? The many appearances of the Risen Christ caused a chain reaction, resulting in a strength of character and a radical change in fearful people. The strength of this change meant that proposing the opposite thesis (that the faith of the followers had produced the “myth” of the Resurrection) therefore lost ground totally.
Resurrection is the lynch pin of our Christian faith; without a risen Jesus, our faith would not be the same, if at all. Without a risen Jesus, the disciples would have drifted away, disillusioned and broken. But the resurrection produced a faith that truly changed the world.
What does faith in the Resurrection mean to us? How does the thought of the Resurrection change our outlook? How will it change you this week?
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