Because He Lives

“And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
1 Corinthians 15:14 NIV

We know there are many today who say that Jesus was a great spiritual teacher, but there’s no way that he rose from the dead. Interestingly, sometimes people think that in ancient times people were gullible–ready to believe anything. C.S. Lewis calls this “chronological snobbery.” However, people in the ancient world were not so ill-informed. They actually understood that the dead tend to stay dead.

One day a woman looked out her window and saw her German Shepherd dog shaking the life out of a neighbor's rabbit. There was already tension between the families, so she knew this was going to be a disaster. She quickly yelled at the dog to drop the dead rabbit. Seeing the lifeless animal up close, she panicked. She grabbed the rabbit, took it inside and cleaned it up. She blow-dried it to its original fluffiness. Then she snuck into the neighbor's yard and propped the dead pet back up in its cage. An hour later she heard screams coming from next door. She called to ask the neighbor what was going on. "Our rabbit!" her neighbor cried. "He died two weeks ago. We buried him, but now he's back!"

People in the ancient world knew that dead rabbits stayed dead. Although many 1 st century Jews did believe in resurrection, they believed it would happen to all of God’s people at the end of time, not just to one person. The idea of the dead coming to life, one at a time, was just as foreign a concept in those days as it is now. The dead tended to stay dead–until God began to do something brand new in Jesus Christ.

There’s an old song that I grew up singing in the Baptist tradition. It reminds us of the Good News of this Easter season. “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow; because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future–and life is worth the living, just because he lives.”

The Rev. Chad T. Martin