by Christopher Harbin

Attaining the Resurrection
Christopher B. Harbin
Philippians 3:7-21

Today is resurrection Sunday. We celebrate that Jesus rose from the grave many centuries ago. We celebrate and remember the excitement, fear, uncertainty, confusion, and joy of the disciples confronted with the amazing news of Jesus' victory over death. We pause to consider how the church was transformed by the events of so many years past. Perhaps what we often fail to consider, however, is the effect Jesus' resurrection has and can have upon our own lives, not simply in eternity, but in our earthly living. What difference does the resurrection make, and what does it mean when Paul say he was striving to attain the reality of Jesus' resurrection in his own life?

Paul's letter to the Philippians does not seem the right place to be on Resurrection Sunday. We are much more accustomed to look at the gospel accounts of the historical event of Jesus' resurrection. We are more likely to expect to rehearse the accounts of Jesus' resurrection, but all too often we keep our focus on the events and descriptions of history will little grasp of what that history can and should mean in our own lives some two thousand years later.

Paul indeed wrote of the resurrection. We know from Luke's accounts in Acts that he often referred to the resurrection as the hinge pin of the gospel he preached among the Gentiles and the central point he made when conversing with Sadducees and Pharisees. He spoke of the resurrection as proof of Jesus' divinity. He spoke of the resurrection as a future event that awaits believers at the moment of death or at the end of this world. We are pretty comfortable with those categories and applications of the resurrection. The problem is that we too often stop reflecting on the resurrection at those points, time long past and some undetermined point in the distant future. We never seem to move into Paul's concerns over the impact and effect of the resurrection on our present lives. ...

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