by Christopher Harbin

Resurrection Courage
Christopher B. Harbin
Acts 23:6-15

Today is Resurrection Sunday. We gather to tell the story of Jesus coming out of the tomb, walking among the disciples and sharing the news that death had no hold upon him. Jesus is risen! He is risen indeed! That is good news! It is reason for celebration! It is reason for joy and praise. Aside from being a good story, however, a happy ending, what is the point? What difference does it make in our daily living? What difference did it make for the disciples and the early church?

There is no one single answer to those questions. For the early church, the resurrection was proof positive that Jesus was indeed God incarnate. The resurrection meant that Jesus' words were true, that we have the option of spending eternity in God's presence beyond the limits of earthly living. It meant that God was in the business of creating life in the midst of death and hopelessness. It meant that as Jesus had turned down political power, his reign would not be limited to the realm of politics, violence, or death. This new reign would reach beyond death, into the life beyond.

The resurrection was also about transformation-our transformation. It would transform our ideas of religion, of faith, of eternity, of immortality, of death, and of life with God. It would transform the disciples from a timid band of Jesus' followers into courageous leaders ready to challenge the Jewish power structures and religious traditions. The resurrection would transform through the creation of a quality of courage and trust in God's care and provision.

The resurrection granted hope. That was what Paul reflected in his confrontation with Pharisees and Sadducees when apprehended on his return to Jerusalem. ''I stand before you,'' he said, ''because of my hope in the resurrection!'' That hope gave him courage. It gave him a message to share. It gave him the strength to stand before opposition and declare the message of Jesus' resurrection ...

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