What if everything that I thought was wrong with the world suddenly was made right? What if the pain of every hurt or insult or grievance I have experienced in life suddenly was removed and the hollowness I feel inside — of loneliness, desire, neglect or guilt — was suddenly gone and filled with joy and great peace? What if the fear of aging, decaying, losing it all, being abandoned, lost and all alone — what if none of that mattered anymore because it all turned out to be a bad dream, not true at all? 

Could I live with it? 

It’s so strange. Throughout his earthly ministry, Jesus had been preparing his disciples for what was going to happen to him at the end of his days. He reminded them time and again, citing scriptural references, that the “Son of Man” was going to be handed over to death and that on the third day he would rise. 

All of his disciples, to a greater or lesser degree, shared the hope of Israel. That there would be redemption and deliverance from sin and all that is evil. That this salvation would be launched and accomplished by a messianic figure, a real historical person, accomplishing God’s saving covenant. That this would, of necessity, include an absolution, the forgiveness of sin and the healing of all shattered lives and broken hearts. And, in some unfathomable way, death would be no more. The redemption would be a resurrection, not just a restoration of the status quo before it all went wrong, but something even better, something that would last forever. 

Then, one morning, it happened. 

No one, of course, was ready for it. No one expected that what happened on Good Friday — the bloody, treacherous events leading up to what occurred at three o’clock in the afternoon on Calvary that fateful day — could have anything to do with the hope that generations of faith had been waiting for. 

It was just over. He was dead and done with. The one they had hoped might possibly be the One was gone. 
But he wasn’t. Reality was not as it seemed to be. He was and is even more than they could even dream for. And yet, the fulfillment of all of their hopes, when it happened finally, was not something they could accept or even deal with. It could not be that different from the “reality” they knew. Or thought they knew. 

What is the evidence for this? The Gospels are as clear about the finality of the death of Christ as they are about the denial of his Resurrection. This could not possibly be true because things like this do not happen. Even though everyone hoped everything would someday be set right, sin would be forgiven, death would be vanquished, in the end, when it happened, no one could believe it or accept it. 

Can we blame the poor disciples, who discovered the empty tomb, for doubting what they saw? Would we be ready for such a radical change of everything we really think of life, our lives, the world, humanity itself, and where we are all destined to end up? 

The good news of God’s mercy just seems too good to be true. Even if I am willing to accept that, okay, Jesus does love me and, yes, he died for me so that my sins and sins of the whole world would be forgiven, even if my faith can take me that far, am I ready to believe that I am saved not just from sin itself but from continuing to sin? That I am now free to be holy and to live forever? 

Yes, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ means exactly that — all of that, and more. It’s no hoax. The old way is what is unreal now. Revenge, retribution, restitution and sanctification have all been accomplished. No need to look back in anger or expect the other shoe to drop. It is finished, just as Jesus said. Now I can start living. Living in the light of an eternal love that does not end at death. 

Am I ready? 

This is Real Life. Not life as we may have known it or have been led to expect by our own fallen humanity, our addiction to sin, our corruption through the sins of others. We may not be willing or able to bear so much reality. But this is our future, if we want it to be ours.

And if not now, when? Why is it so hard to accept that, like the hope of Israel that the disciples of Jesus waited for all of their lives, he really IS the hope that we all long for “out of the depths” of our being? 

God the Son became man to save me from my fallen humanity. Am I willing to be changed so that I share in his divinity? Or is eternal love too much for me? Would it have been better, less confusing and shocking, if Jesus just stayed in the tomb — and left us on our own? 

Yes, we can certainly understand the startled first reaction of the disciples upon whom it dawned that Jesus had risen from the dead. Fortunately for them and for us, they came to believe him, let their lives be changed by him, and handed on to us their story. Now it’s our turn.