The resurrection of Jesus proves that this difficult way we wrote about yesterday is the right way to live. We believe this, yes? We’re committed to it. We know that the more we talk like Jesus and act like Jesus, the more we behave and respond like Jesus, the more naturally we’ll come to consider the needs of others more important than our own. The more we’ll sacrifice for others and serve others and show others unconditional grace and love. This is definitely the only way to live.
But it doesn’t always feel right. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes living like this will get you killed.
Why was Jesus crucified? Not because he was powerful, not because he was violent, not because he was exclusive and judgmental. Our Lord was rejected, he was mocked and beaten, he suffered and was killed, because he loved so unconditionally. Because he was so liberal with his forgiveness. Because he ate with prostitutes and partied with sinners and hugged the lepers. He was killed because he gave everybody the benefit of the doubt, because he worked so hard to tear down the walls that divided people, because he refused to label people, because he never one time did anything in his own interests. The world was offended by the way he lived. And they killed him.
And for a couple of days it looked like the world was right and the Jesus Way was wrong. The world’s way was the right way to live and this opposite Jesus Way? Ha! He’s dead! He’s not the Son of God, he’s hanging on a tree! He’s cursed by God! He’s not the promised Messiah, he’s no representative of God to tell us how to live! Duh! He’s dead!
“Christ Jesus was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord!” ~Romans 1:3-4
The resurrection vindicates the Jesus Way. God bringing a dead Jesus back to life proves that the Jesus Way is the right way. It validates the Jesus Way as the eternal way, the only way to live.
When Jesus says when someone hits you on the right cheek, turn your other cheek to him, too, he doesn’t say, “Then that person will stop hitting you.” Turning the other cheek may actually get you punched a couple more times; it might put you in the hospital. When Jesus says forgive others unconditionally, he doesn’t say, “Then that person will stop sinning against you.” That person may betray you and hurt you up to 469 more times! When Jesus do not resist an evil person doing you harm, he doesn’t say, “Then that person will become nice.” Not resisting might get you killed.
No, our Lord says turn the other cheek, forgive without limits, walk the extra mile, give up your coat, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you because that’s the way of our Father in heaven. The resurrection proves that it’s the right way to live, that it’s our calling. That’s the reason we exist — to live this very difficult, counter-cultural, other-worldly way and to be raised, to be vindicated in the end by the Creator of Heaven and Earth.