The Resurrection is at the heart of every sermon preached in Acts. The reality of the Resurrection is the cornerstone and the proof of the divine goodness of the Kingdom of God. The apostles preached the Resurrection boldly and joyfully even at the cost of their very lives.
The Resurrection of Jesus is so strong.
It’s what turned Mary’s sorrow to joy. It changed the disciples’ fear into courage. It moved Thomas from doubt to assurance. It transforms the Church from an attitude of somber reflection to rejoicing celebration. It’s so powerful. It’s our hope. It’s our trumpet call. It’s the imperative force behind our Christian mission.
And if we embrace the Resurrection, if we claim the promise of the Resurrection as our own, then it will radically impact the way we live. When we understand that the glory of the Resurrection and eternal life with the Father is what awaits us after death, then we have no problem risking our lives or our well-being or our reputations or our popularity for the Gospel.
As owners of the Resurrection promise, death is not tragic. Our attitude is, “You can kill me, but you can’t hurt me.”
Graydon Snyder, in a commentary on 1 Corinthians he wrote in 1992, says living a Resurrection life means no longer insisting on “protection and security of the individual, institutions, and country.”
The life of the Spirit, with its hope in the Resurrection, does not, indeed cannot, dwell on the preservation of the flesh — personhood, institutions, nations. Rather, the corporate life of the Christian becomes one of risk. A Christian hospital can accept more welfare patients than economically advisable because it knows God’s love for the poor does not depend on its continued existance. Christians can call for total disarmament in the midst of a war because they know the future of the world does not depend on the survival of their nation. A Christian can risk his or her life because a Christian knows this life is not the end.
I’d add that a Christian Church can take bolder risks in evangelizing its neighborhoods, bolder risks in giving to children’s homes and homeless shelters, bolder risks in denying self and sacrificing self, knowing that the salvation of the world and the salvation of my soul is in the powerful and loving hands of our God who promises the Resurrection.
The power of the Resurrection and its promises is what causes us to say ‘yes’ to bold, risky Kingdom propositions instead of ‘no.’ It’s what gives us our confidence and courage. It’s what obliterates our timidity.
The Resurrection life doesn’t begin at our death. It begins right now!