April 23 2017
We have celebrated Easter, but do we believe in Easter? We have recognized the resurrection of Jesus but do we live that resurrection? The mainline church in Australia looks more like the disciples probably did on Easter Saturday: confused, intimidated, depressed. We see declining membership and ageing congregations. We shudder at paedophilia and cover-ups. We remember a time when the church was respected by the community in general and was listened to when it spoke on social issues. No doubt the disciples, after seeing Jesus executed on the cross, remembered too the times in Galilee when thousands of people turned out to hear Jesus only now to feel as though it had all come to nothing. But the resurrection changed all that. Jesus was alive! An empty tomb might have been puzzling, but meeting the risen Christ changed everything. The End Times had begun. God’s victory was assured. Not even the greatest political, military and economic power of the world could defeat God. Neither could entrenched religious power. If we have fallen into a form of collective depression we should take our eyes off the church for a minute and look at the person whose resurrection the Church has just celebrated. It’s not the Church that is the Saviour of the world. It is Jesus, crucified and risen, present in spiritual power for those with the insight to see him. He lives, he lives, Christ Jesus lives today, and in the light of the resurrection we cannot be depressed, nor can we go into our shells and cringe before a loud and ungodly world. Jesus reigns. We are a people of hope. Not a timid, uncertain hope, but a joyous and confident hope in Jesus the Christ, risen, present, and humbly victorious.
- Does Easter Day set the tone for your congregation’s life and activity?
- Is it possible for confidence and humility to go together? To proclaim the Gospel confidently while respecting other viewpoints?
- If the Church is not the Saviour of the world, what role does the Church play in God’s saving activity?
- What does the resurrection of Jesus say to you now?