And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
Just like that!
The thing is, when I look at my life I realize what an antagonist I am. I’m a horrible television friend always borrowing money from the main character and never repaying—acting like I legitimately care before stealing his car knowing he needs it to drive his sick grandmother to the hospital for dialysis. And every time I show up on the show again, you’re like “NOOOOO! Why do they even have this character? He’s so unbelievable! So unrelatable! And all it does is make the main character seem like a total idiot for forgiving him over and over again.” Even so, I keep popping back up in every.single.episode and in every.single.episode I do something more callous than seems possible, as the main character seems to waste his time carefully tending to me and all the problems I pile on top of him, before going out and creating more problems for myself which I then casually pass on to him.
That’s the same exact story the Israelites were running. Like Keith said, you can’t help but think they suffer from serious defects in adapting to reality when they so quickly forget who the Lord is and what he’s done. Just as it was for them it is for me; the best character in my own life, the one everyone identifies with because they couldn’t imagine being the annoyingly reoccurring jerk, isn’t even me! In my own life I’m the antagonist! I’m fighting myself and tripping myself up and tying myself up to be thrown onto the train tracks!
Timmy Shaw once said that if human history were theater we would be the fourth servant while God played every other role. That’s true, in that God’s the one authoring history, who actually understands everything that’s going on, and who’s very nature sort of obliterates the idea of human sovereignty. I’d say you could also make an argument that if life were a play, humanity would play the damsel in distress as well as the wicked queen. We’re farcically chasing ourselves into the grave while God’s running after us over and over.
The resurrection is of inconceivable importance, and if I were to really meditate on it as it deserves (and it deserves all my thoughts, certainly), I’d only be able to grapple with some of the myriad, flowing consequences. What I can say is that even if my life is still often a tiringly self-defeating string of poor moves, since accepting Christ and the resurrection God has actually been prevailing.
I don’t want to pretend like I’m always on board with God’s work. I’d love to say that I am, because it makes absolute sense—his free love and grace and mercy are the best deal, offered at the price of Christ’s life and giving me access to unending and abiding peace and life. I’d love to say I’m so rational as to live a life which reflects the truth of Christ’s death and resurrection—in reality, I’m not. I still choose to act like that’s not true, or act like even though it’s true, it’s not the absolutely incredible reality-tearing obliteration of death and suffocating invasion of perfect love that it actually is. That is to say, I take it for granted.
Even with my thick-skulled hardheartedness, I can’t sit here and deny that he’s actually prevailed. I’ve seen myself say and do things that I would never have normally even conceived of. I’ve stopped myself from saying and doing things that I would never have otherwise even cared to think twice about. I know I can be pretty self-righteous sometimes, but that doesn’t do anything to explain the change and growth I’ve undergone in the past few years. Believe me, my desire for sin is a lot stronger than my desire to look like I don’t have sin. Plus, you can get extra self-righteous points now for calling someone out for judging you when you do actually sin, so it goes both ways.
I am alive and growing only because of the resurrection of Christ. For those of you who know me and where I’ve been, you know that at times in my life the idea of self-control has seemed to me like blasphemy.
Christ is Risen Christ is Risen Christ is Risen. There’s really no other explanation for the things I’ve seen, the lives I’ve seen changed, the healing I’ve watched take people (and myself) over. I’ve seen salvation flowing, even uphill against an avalanche of obstinate hedonism, and salvation isn’t offered by anything other than Christ. That’s because every other philosophy you’re gonna find isn’t actually offering salvation, it’s saying that you can find a way to save yourself. Every other philosophy says that salvation’s on the top of a mountain you’re gonna have to climb on your own, or it judgmentally tells you you’re already there and just better than the evil ones.
Since that mountain’s impossible to climb when bombarded by our wants and desires, I’m glad that there’s at least one person who was willing to take on the fight I never was. I know that God will continue to redeem me, and my opposition will become less and less powerful. So love wins, and we can actually start living LIFE.
It is done.
Our sins are carried far away.
Christ is Risen.
We are found.