Preaching the resurrection is the thing we do every Sunday more or less, is it not? The entire Christian life is a direct result of the resurrection of Christ. All of our work as pastors focuses on teaching people to live in the resurrection reality. All grief management, discipleship encouragement, judgment warning and instruction in righteousness grows directly from the fact that Jesus Christ has inaugurated the New Age in the midst of the Old Age.
One of the entailments of the resurrection of Christ is that if it is true (and it is) then Reality is profoundly different than we have been led to believe. For one thing, philosophical pluralism, the mantra, the dogma, the unquestioned canon of contemporary western intuition is simply not true. And thinking that it is true turns out to be a stupefying mental error, one from which grows an enormous epistemological labyrinth that keeps smart people walking in moral circles indefinitely. There simply are not multiple Ultimate Truths. Nor are there multiple paths to the same Ultimate Truth. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nobody comes to God except through Me.” Ultimate Truth is a Person, not an abstract concept. He is God. This means that the universe is the Personal expression of the Personal Creator, the result of His Word (Heb.11:3).
Secondly, the resurrection of Christ means that evil or sin is a deeper reality than energy or physics in the universe. Our world preaches the dogma that the universe is essentially “Matter, Motion, Time, and Chance” as Francis Schaeffer famously said. But if Jesus Christ is resurrected, that means that his excruciating and inhumane death accomplished what He said it was supposed to accomplish—the defeat of sin and death. That means that sin is a deeper reality and a more powerful thing than inanimate energy in the same way that cancer is more central to a human than clothing.
If you’re going to live the Christian life you have to live it on Jesus’ terms. That means you have to think about everything like Jesus, like God in the flesh does. And you have to decide to do this. There’s no other way. You can’t serve God and the Enlightenment, God and World Religions, God and Naturalism, God and Pluralism, God and Nationalism, God and Spiritism, God and Sex, God and Power, God and Money. It’s The Lord Christ or nothing. This is not an arbitrary decree from an insecure and co-dependent Deity. It is a fact. The universe only runs one way because it is the product of only One God, the Triune God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“But there are many ways of understanding reality, many truths” says the urbane and fashionably skeptical pluralist. “Who’s to say which is right?” The answer is: “How do you know that there are many truths?” The fact is that we only retreat to the “there are many truths” defense when there’s something we want to do that we’re pretty sure God would disapprove of, like wholesale sex, killing unborn people, or unbridled greed.
The famous Duck-Rabbit illustration pops up in all of these discussions. The picture looks like a duck, but then when you look at it with different “eyes” it looks like a rabbit. If you tell people ahead of time that you’re going to show them a picture of a duck, that’s what they “see.” And everybody knows that “seeing is believing,” which means “seeing is knowing” right? So then, you “know” it’s a duck. Yet, if somebody tells you that “many scholars believe” it’s a rabbit, you begin to wonder of you should change your mind about it being a duck. Endless “conversations” (the polite pluralistic euphemism for arguments) ensue.
But what if the Artist of the Duck/Rabbit picture steps on the scene and says, “It’s a duck.” Now we have a decision to make about reality. It is a decision of what to know, meaning what to believe is factually true about this issue. Our decision is not whether to believe/know that the picture is a duck or a rabbit, it is a decision to base our knowing on something other than our autonomous seeing and thinking. In other words, we face not simply a decision about ontology (whether the thing is a duck or a rabbit), but epistemology (how we know what the thing is). Do we “take the Artist’s word for it”? Or do we insist that our “seeing” is “knowing” and that therefore we are for all intents and purposes the ultimate interpreters and thus the creators in a certain sense of the picture? If we assume that we may decide whether it is a duck or a rabbit regardless of what the Artist says about it, then does that mean that the thing really is both a duck and a rabbit? Really? The Law of Non-Contradiction is non-existent? Do we really live that way in daily life? If we try to live this way, it is the beginning of insanity.
When Jesus of Nazareth rode into Jerusalem on that donkey colt at Passover in AD 30, he was presenting Himself as the Messiah, the center of reality, God in the flesh. The people wanted to believe He was their idea of Messiah, but He isn’t. He was purposely letting them think what they wanted to think, to interpret Him as they wished, according to their idea of Messiah. In a way, He was letting them think one thing about him when in fact there was a deeper and more profound reality. Only after the resurrection and only to a relative minority of the population (though a large group over a few weeks of time) did he reveal the Truth. But once that Truth was revealed it changed the view of everybody about everything.
Preaching the resurrection is preaching the gospel. It is the most stunning, astounding, life-transforming reality imaginable.
Just a Thought,