“You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
John 13: 13-17
***** Life or Resurrection? *****
Before this blog begins its full journey through the Christian faith, I feel I need to address this question. In truth, this is the fundamental divide between many of us. I, as a Christian, have found myself at odds with many non-believers. That would be expected, right? However, I also find myself at odds with many Christians. This, I believe, is due to how we answer the question above.
We all know the story, no? Jesus, born of a virgin, came to Earth to teach the ways of the Father. His ministry was a short one. Conflicts between He and the Pharisees about what was Holy, and who was Holy, led to his trial. Conviction and crucifixion followed. On the third day after being sealed in a tomb, He arose. This resurrection will be shared by any who believe in and follow Him. Salvation given freely. Sacrifice made by Him, yet for us.
What is my issue here?
Well, here goes. My issue here is that I think too many people, especially Christians, forget His life.
Anyone who has read, or even skimmed through, the Bible knows that the resurrection is an extremely important part of Christian history. About the only thing to rival it, in the New Testament, is the virgin birth. I mean…what is more important to a Christian follower than the fact that Christ was born (to be our savior) and that Christ died (to solidify that salvation)?
However, it is also very clear that nearly every word out of Jesus’ mouth was a mandate on how to live. He told countless parables about how to become a better person. Those who would judge another, were warned that the very same judgement would befall ourselves. Those who would take up a sword against another, were warned that they, too, would become victims of the same. We were taught to treat the poor with dignity and respect. We were to feed them if they suffered of hunger, provide water for the thirsty. We were to turn the other cheek to any who may persecute us. We were to receive strangers with the same love that God has for us. We were to be good stewards of our money, without worshipping it. He walked, miles and miles, to teach us…to be good to one another. That’s the message, in a nutshell.
It is amazing to me that this is overlooked. In all four gospels, the overwhelming bulk of the narrative is Jesus’ life. That, in no way, takes away from the importance of his death and resurrection. On the contrary, it add context for it. His life is what makes His death (and the victory over it)…More. This man, of kind and gentle spirit, led a life that God would be proud of. He led a life, that we as followers, should mimic.
The idea of the resurrection appeals to us, naturally. We are human beings. And humans love nothing more than getting something for free. It’s like winning Power Ball, right?! Jesus came to us, and died for us. If we believe this is so, we are granted eternal life. It is just so….easy. We didn’t have to do anything. Who wouldn’t want the millions without buying the ticket? What could be better?
I’ll tell you what could be better. Hold on to your Bibles, because this will make me sound like a radical!
Christians following Christ would be better.
*Don’t just hear the stories…live them.
*Don’t cast stones from your glass house.
*Don’t avert your eyes from the hungry and homeless.
*Don’t lie, cheat, or steal.
*Don’t repay persecution with persecution.
*Don’t regurgitate Bible passages, regurgitate LOVE!
Don’t believe me?
“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”
John 14: 23-24
“My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”
Luke 8: 21
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13: 34-35
***** So,…Life or Resurrection? *****