Category Archives: bodily resurrection
Ask the average Christian today why Jesus had to die on the cross and he will likely say something to the effect of “to pay for our sins.”
Had you asked the same question to any Christian during the first four centuries of Christianity, they would have replied, “to destroy the works of the devil.”
Both answers are biblical and correct, but the first is too narrow. It doesn’t go far enough. Yes, we are all sinners. True, our sins separate us from God. And, yes, Jesus paid for our sins on the cross so that now we can be completely forgiven and adopted into God’s forever family. Hallelujah! Thank you, Jesus!
But Jesus did more than that on the cross. He destroyed the works of evil. (1 John 3:8 ESV: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.)
No one knew it at the time, but on Good Friday, everything changed. Jesus absorbed into his sinless being all the evil in the universe. All that is wrong, hurtful, evil, unjust – all of the chaos in the cosmos – imploded. The forces of darkness are utterly defeated. As a result, God has begun God’s reign on the earth now. We as individuals get to participate in that reign as new creations. We are collectively invited to join God as God makes all things new.
We join God as Jesus makes all things new by doing what Jesus said to do. We participate in the Kingdom of God by conforming our lives to the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7)
We can’t do it alone. We need each other. We need the strength and guidance of others. Together, we seek to live with Jesus, learning from Jesus, how to be like Jesus. Together, we hold up a mirror to power and defend the poor, weak, displaced, marginalized, disenfranchised, and victimized.
Ask the average Christian today what it means to follow Jesus, and they will likely give you a theological answer about atonement and immortality.
Ask the average non-Christian today what it means to follow Jesus, and almost invariably they will respond, “Love your enemies.”
Why is it that many non-Christians get it and many church-goers do not?