On the Resurrection

What Eugene Peterson has to say about the resurrection is so good I am reposting it from last year. 

On Recovering our Resurrection Center:

We live the Christian life out of a rich tradition of formation-by-resurrection.  Jesus’ resurrection provides the energy and conditions by which we “walk before the Lord in the land of the living” – the great Psalm phrase (116:9).  The resurrection of Jesus creates and then makes available the reality in which we are formed as new creatures in Christ by the Holy Spirit.  The do-it-yourself, self-help culture of North America has so thoroughly permeated our imaginations that we ordinarily don’t give attention to the biggest thing of all – resurrection.  And the reason we don’t is because resurrection is not something we can use or control or manipulate or improve on.  It’s interesting, isn’t it, that the world has had very little success in commercializing Easter – turning it into a commodity – as it has Christmas?  If we can’t in our phrase, “get a handle on it” or use it, we soon loose interest.  But resurrection is not available for our use.  It’s exclusively God’s operation.

What I want to do is rediscover our resurrection center and embrace the formation traditions that develop out of it. I’m going to deal in turn with the three aspects of Jesus’ resurrection that define and energize us as we enter the practice of resurrection lives.  I will then set this resurrection life lived out of the reality and conditions of Jesus’ resurrection in contrast to what I consider the common cultural habits and assumptions that are either oblivious to or make detours around resurrection.  I will name this “the deconstruction of resurrection.”  Finally, I will suggest something of what is involved in cultivating the practice of resurrection: living appropriately and responsively in a world in which Christ is risen  (13-14).

from: Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life (NavPress, 2006).

I’ve been realizing this Easter just how much we evangelicals tend to focus on the cross and how little we spend time reflecting on the fact and reality of the resurrection life of Jesus in us.  Somehow, sermons on the cross come across as more powerful – they garner more response, especially a response of guilt and sorrow and repentance.   In contrast to Peterson – we prefer to live cross-centered lives.  We evangelicals, we like messages on the cross, we like to keep things centered on the cross because we see it as the heart of the gospel.

But what about the resurrection?  Is it a side dish?  A happenstance that is a side note?  A marginal note?  No, it’s none of these things.  Well, we wouldn’t readily admit that but what do our thinking and actions show?

I think Peterson is on to the correct view – our lives should be resurrection centered – centered on the new life we have in Christ not merely because of the cross but almost certainly because of the resurrection life of Jesus Christ.  Without the resurrection nothing would matter (cf. 1 Cor 15:14, 17), not the death of Jesus on the cross, not forgiveness, not “pistis Christou” or “dikasone Theou” or imputation or any of that.  Without the resurrection of Jesus from the dead there is no freedom from the power of sin and death; there is no forgiveness of sins; there is no newness of life; no future; no nothing.

In fact, it is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead that we have all these things: forgiveness, freedom, new life, healing, redemption, righteousness, and so on.   How can there be anything more important?

Key Question:  Is it fair to say we should in some sense move beyond the cross and on into the resurrection life to which Jesus has called us?

Think about it.  What say you?

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