Thursday, October 28, 2004

The Thing That Sets Us Apart

There have been lots of religious leaders throughout history. A few have developed quite a following. Some have even gained world-wide status. But, only One has ever died for the sins of the whole world AND was resurrected, bodily, AND lives today, some 2000 years AFTER His death and subsequent resurrection. That One is Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Son of God.

The resurrection of Jesus is one of the key elements that sets Him apart from all the other religious leaders, local messiahs, prophets.

There is much discussion about the resurrection of Jesus; its purpose, its reality, its consequences.

How do you see it? How do you understand the resurrection? What difference does it make in your life?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really believe that the resurrection is the one event that set Jesus apart from all the other "prophets" of the world. Christ proved His divinity when He was raised from the dead. The act of dying proved Him to be fully human and the resurrection proved to the world that He was also God. His sacrifice is so amazing and incomprehensible. It is hard to completely grasp the significance of the resurrection because our human minds are so limited. Jesus has made a huge impact on my life and the resurrection has proved to me that He is an amazing loving God.

Pastor Randy said...

I am grabbed by your comment that Jesus has made a huge impact on your life. How very true this is for ALL of us. Whether we choose to believe and follow Jesus as the Living God, or whether we choose to reject and follow our own way, the resurrection affects us all.

The challenge that is constantly before me, is not just have Jesus making a "huge impact upon my life," but for Jesus to BE my life.

I am drawn and challenged by the words of the Aposlte Paul, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Anonymous said...

How do I understand the resurrection? Gary Newton

You may recall Jesus said prior to his crucifixion and resurrection, "I am the Vine, you are the branches" (John 15:5). The Father (our heavenly Father) is the Caretaker (15:1) in this parallel. Jesus is the Vine. And his followers, now called the Church, are the Vine's branches. If there were no resurrection following the crucifixion then we Christians, the branches of the Vine, would be attached to a now dead Vine. With no resurrection we would, spiritually speaking, be as dead as Jesus would be with no resurrection.

If that were the case - no resurrection - then there could be no "eternal life" [divine vine sap!] in us because at this point the branches (the Church) and the Vine (Jesus) are One: whatever life is in the Vine is being passed on into its branches.

However since there was a resurrection: the Vine lives on (the tomb is empty!). And Christians, being one with the Vine, are alive as well. "The glory which thou hast given me," Jesus stated to his Father, "I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one"(John 17:22). It is happening. Receiving Jesus is an ongoing daily experience, because of the resurrection and glorification of Jesus as the Vine.

The Vine is greater than any of its branches, of course, and, being one with the Father, can live forever on its own; however the branches are dependent upon the Vine for the nourishing life-giving sap [Holy Spirit] that continuously flows up through the Vine and into the branches. If a branch breaks off from the Vine it dies. Some say this is impossible because of the anonymous saying: "Once saved, always saved." I don't think any of us want to test this theory, though.

As Jesus said about his Father, "The Father and I are one"(John 10:30), and then later said, "The Father is greater than I"(John 14:28) - so, likewise, we can say about Jesus, as the Vine, "Jesus and I are one, yet Jesus is greater than I." I think this is in agreement with what Pastor Randy is hearing and experiencing: "For Jesus to BE my life."

Pastor Randy said...

Gary,

I like your analogy of eternal life being the "sap" of the Vine.

That makes eternal life a vibrant and living thing (thus, the "living" part of "eternal"). As you have noted, this is something that is ongoing, a daily experience for the follower of Jesus. We so often understand eternal life as something that will happen later, but it is happening now. It is the life of Jesus in us allowing us to be His witnesses, to know His joy, and to serve the kingdom in His power.

Thanks for the "new" picture.