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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




Resurrection!

By David W. Argue
Apr. 8, 2012

I believe the resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened.

The Bible says it happened in this manner: Jesus suffered a hideous death — body slashed, head disfigured, wrists pierced through, feet nailed together, and back serrated. His body was pinned, arms and legs, to rough-hewn timber.

Jesus was undergoing the most vicious form of inflicted death known to humanity. And He did not suffer in maximum security, lockdown privacy with a few selected witnesses — news media waiting for the dignified signal of “the end.” He suffered while a raucous crowd jested, mocked and leered at Him, and soldiers inflicted further ignominy upon Him.

And a burden immeasurably surpassing any physical pain — the sin of humanity with its consequent guilt and judgment before God the Father — was being placed upon Jesus. This entire scenario was a God-ordained process and plan, a means of dealing with the holiness and justice of God, as well as expressing the mercy and love of God for us all.

The Cross was the only way possible.

And it killed Jesus Christ.

In the end, marred beyond recognition, Jesus yielded up His Spirit to God the Father, and died.

His remains were removed from the cross. Cleaned and prepared with spices, His body was wrapped in grave cloths and buried in a small, cave-like place — its entry blocked by a large stone.

Three days motionless, mummy-like in the tomb. Darkness. Silence.

The end? No.

The plan was unfolding.

As day three emerged, God the Father infused resurrection life into Jesus — a combination of healing and transformation of the body into the radiant new prototype of forever. Touchable. Visible. Exhibiting much of the old human form, yet overwhelmingly new, imperishable, powerful, spiritual and heaven-ready.

And in that resurrection form, Jesus spent time with His followers, reviewing His teachings, His mission, and the Plan.

Jesus spent 40 days doing this, getting His disciples used to this new level of reality, building strength into them, and making sure the focus of worldwide mission was in them.

If He had only appeared once, in dim light, or to just a few, or only to those deemed most “holy” or “prone to visions and dreams,” it would not fortify my faith like the real accounts do. Besides the clear Gospel narratives, He appeared to “more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living,” declared the apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 15:6, NIV).

On the final occasion of His appearing, just before His ascension into heaven, with all His disciples present, Jesus commissioned them again, blessed them and promised that He would be with them “to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Then He was raised up into the presence of God the Father.

And that is where He is as you read this article today.

Jesus is in heaven, preparing for the next great event of the unfolding of the Plan.*

The cruelest death, the Resurrection, the Ascension!

Only one story like this ever.

Only one Person like this — ever.

But how do we know this is true?

It is a question I have mulled over a lot. I suggest these anchors for your faith:

1. The original documents of Scripture are not the mystic musings of one man centuries after the events, but the immediate writings of multiple authors — many of them eyewitnesses of what they wrote. They concur in what they wrote.

2. This was not a unique supercharged appearance, at a divine moment, to one especially qualified person. The Resurrection was evidenced through multiple “normal” appearances, in diverse situations and over many days, almost always to groups of people. Their ears, eyes and touch all confirmed this to be Jesus. He is alive.

3. Having been an eyewitness to the Resurrection becomes a requirement of apostolic succession in the Early Church.

4. Many of those who saw Jesus would later choose to become martyrs rather than deny that Jesus rose from death. Through the centuries, great numbers of people chose their own death over a denial that Jesus rose from death.

5. The Book of Acts, chapters 2-5 and following, records the Resurrection as a part of the core truth proclaimed. And when the Early Church developed a short statement (The Apostles’ Creed) to be used in personal devotion, church worship, and baptismal confession, the Resurrection was affirmed as an essential truth to build faith.

6. The explosive growth of the Church, with essential linkage to this reality, speaks of a people joined to truth that is electrifying and a Lord who is alive.

I believe that Jesus Christ’s resurrection is bedrock to everything.

Resurrection convincingly says there is no one else like Jesus. He has gone through death and emerged on the other side, victorious. The path He blazed — the truth He taught, the Cross, the Resurrection, the Ascension — are without parallel. He is Lord.

The Resurrection demonstrates that the penalty for sin, fully poured out upon the Cross, was satisfied. Those who place their trust in what Christ has done will receive favor and blessing from God. Instead of living with guilt and a fear of divine punishment for sin, we become friends of God (Romans 4:23-25).

Many years ago, realizing that I had no real peace with God, I knelt in prayer and confessed my sins to Him, asking for His forgiveness and for the Spirit of Christ to come and give direction to my life.

Something happened right then: a deep sense of peace, an assurance of a new dimension in my relationship with God, and a great night’s rest.

Since then, I have been transformed by a living connection with Jesus, and a deep, stabilizing conversation with Him that continues daily. It’s a Resurrection-based guarantee to all of us: Faith in Christ expressed in the now calls forth life in the Spirit and partnership with Christ. (See Romans 8.)

“According to His great mercy [God the Father] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3,4, NASB).

So, today …

Look up.

Live fully.

Sing with abandon and dance for joy.

Jesus is alive, and that changes everything.

* The abbreviated account contained in these paragraphs is based on holding to the truthfulness of the writings of five different first-century authors, whose works survive in the New Testament — one of the most reliable, authenticated documents of all time.


DAVID W. ARGUE is a former Assemblies of God executive presbyter and an author, ministry coach and pastor-at-large living in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Email your comments to pe@ag.org.