Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ανάστασις - Resurrection

Real belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is what divides the Church right down the middle, separating ahead of the Day of Judgment the sheep from the goats. ‘My sheep recognize My voice’ (John 10:27), says the Lord Jesus, ‘who is, who was and who is to come’ (Revelation 1:8).

Those who really believe in the Resurrection know for sure that Jesus is alive, alive as Man, alive as God, as one ‘who became dead, but is alive forever’ (Revelation 1:18), and so they cannot speak of Him in the past tense, ‘Jesus was, Jesus said,’ except when describing an action of His that He did once on earth, and yet even there, they draw the line very close.

They may say, ‘He was crucified, suffered and was buried, and on the third day rose according to the scriptures’ (Symbol of Nicaea), but in everything else they speak of Him as if He were with them, in their midst, even now, at this present moment, because He is‘Christ is in our midst! He is and ever shall be!’

For those who live in the knowledge of His real Presence with us, because of their belief in the Resurrection, to hear His voice, to receive His call, to follow Him today and to say and do what they hear Him saying and see Him doing in the scriptures and in the world, these are mystíria, yet not mysterious.

This knowledge and what flows from it is not esoteric (hidden) unless you want it to be, as holy apostle Paul writes, ‘There are no hidden meanings in our letters besides what you can read for yourselves and understand’ (2 Corinthians 1:13 JB).

This is the foundation stone of Orthodox faith: that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead, and that He is with us now, and to the ages of ages, and where this Jesus is, there also His disciples are. For this reason, we speak not only of Christ in the present tense, e.g., ‘Jesus says,’ but also of His holy apostles and beloved saints, His sheep, e.g., ‘Paul writes.’

Why is this?

Because in Jesus, all who believe in Him are alive, just as He is.
This is the Communion of Saints, forever alive in the Living God.

Like the Jews who to this day cannot accept Y’shua ha-Mashiach as their Messiah, because they do not believe in His resurrection and for no other reason, ‘They hated Me for no reason’ (Psalm 69:4, John 15:25), so also the Christians and non-Christians who cannot accept Jesus Christ and believe in Him for who He really is.

It’s not because of what He did or didn’t do, what He fulfilled prophetically or didn’t fulfill, what He taught or didn’t teach, ‘the sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath’ (Mark 2:27), but because they do not or will not believe that ‘Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more’ (Romans 6:9 KJV). To do so would immediately and irrevocably turn their world upside down.

Hence, within the Church enclosure, religion, outside it, derision, is how the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is tamed for the safety of the world in place of its salvation.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.
John 3:16-21 NIV

I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
John 11:25 NIV

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