Tag Archives: Why do people suffer?

RISE (a narrative sermon on Jesus’s Resurrection)

On a Sunday morning just like this – in fact, it was this week, approximately 1990 years ago – a small group of men sat quietly on chairs and benches scattered around a large upstairs room. Their faces were dark, their clothing disheveled, and most looked like they had not slept for days. The few who tried to speak eventually fell silent, their words swallowed up in the gloom.

Just a week ago, things were completely different. Their eyes danced and their faces were bright. There was a constant din, and the clamor was unmistakably joyous. People were saying things like, “This is it.” At last!” “It will just be a few days now.”

They were happy, giddy even. And Jesus—they had never seen him like this – was magisterial, kingly, intimidating. Determination was written all over his face. They had entered the city at the head of a parade, with Jesus riding on a donkey’s colt. That was no accident! He had borrowed the colt to fulfill Zechariah’s prophecy: “See, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” Jesus was announcing his intentions to rule God’s people. Continue reading

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Easter: So Much Bigger Than You Think

At Easter, Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and celebrate what his rising means for people and for the world. Too often, though, this vast hope has been so closely cropped that the only thing left is an expectation of a soulish celestial existence following death.

This is far too narrow a view, which is theologically unsupported and biblically unsound. Resurrection is not just about getting into heaven. It is the pivotal event in God’s plan to save creation. It is not simply a way for humans to live again after they die, but to live for the first time as God intended: joyously, vigorously, lovingly, justly, unendingly.

In the Bible, resurrection is viewed as the doorway into the age to come. Most people in first century Israel assumed this to be true. What surprised them was the Christian claim that the resurrection had already begun in Jesus. Their astonishing news was not just that people go on living after they die – most everyone in the first century already believed that – but that the new age had arrived when Jesus rose from the dead. Continue reading

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