the weblog of Alan Knox

Christ the Lord is Risen Today…

Posted by on Apr 7, 2007 in discipleship, fellowship | 11 comments

I maintain a love-hate relationship with “Christian holidays”. I enjoy seeing family and giving gifts around Christmas. I enjoy the focus on the cross and resurrection around Easter. However, I do not enjoy the “holy day” aspect of Christmas and Easter. In fact, I think that focusing on the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection on two days of the year can distract believers into forgetting about the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection the remaining 363 days of the year.

Between the crucifixion and the resurrection, the first followers of Jesus huddled together in the upper room, focused on the uncertainty of their position. They were not yet living in the reality of the resurrection. Instead, they were still living in the shadow of the cross… waiting for the resurrection, though they did not know what they were waiting for.

After the resurrection, ascension, and sending of the Spirit, the followers of Jesus no longer lived in the uncertain time between the cross and the resurrection. Things had changed! Jesus was not dead; he was risen! God no longer walked with them; He now indwelled them! Things had changed! Peter, who once cowered in fear and lied in response to the questions of a servant girl, now truthfully answered the Jewish council in boldness. Things had changed!

Today, things change as well. We put on our best suits and new ties, our new dresses and perhaps a bonnet. We decorate our buildings with banners and lilies. We sing different songs and host pageants. We hold more “services” and boast of our Easter numbers. On the outside, we scream to the world, “He is risen!”, but where is the response, “He is risen indeed”?

Perhaps the world does not respond, because they recognize that – unlike the change of those first followers of Jesus – our change is simply an external change, and simply a temporary external change. We are not living in the reality of the resurrection. Instead, for some of us, we have huddled back together living in the shadow of this age… waiting for Jesus’ return, though we do not know exactly what we are waiting for.

What happened? Why do we no longer live in the reality of the resurrection 365 days of the year? Why have we reduced the resurrection to the status of a special birthday party?

What would happen if each believer lived in the reality of the resurrection everyday? What would happen if we lived as if Jesus was serious when He said it would be better for him to go and send the Holy Spirit, who now indwells us? What would change if we truly believed that Jesus was with us always? How would our lives be different if we crucified ourselves daily in order to live in the power and presence of the risen Lord? What would happen if we recognized the spiritual presence of Jesus with us today as being more real than his physical presence with those early disciples?

I am asking these questions to myself, after meditating on the resurrection and the response of the church to the resurrection. Perhaps these thoughts resonate with you as well. If so, please share how you live in the reality of the resurrection daily.


11 Comments

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  1. 4-7-2007

    Alan -

    Good post, as usual :) … it reminded me of this that Jen wrote at Christmas time on her blog – Is Labor Day a Christian Holiday if You’re a Christian?

    I, too, maintain a love-hate relationship with Christian holidays. I really can’t say it any better than you have said it here, or Jen says it on her post I listed above.

    So you asked us to please share how you live in the reality of the resurrection daily. I think that truly abiding in Christ is key. I wrote about how I am intentional about abiding in Christ one day not too long ago on my blog – Abiding in Christ?.

    I think a lot of us mistake the fact that we are saved for adibing in Christ. But we must be intentional about abiding in Him. John 15:4 says “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” The word “abide” in John 15:4(correct me if I am wrong here) is an aorist active imperative, meaning that it is without
    regard for past, present, or future time, and the subject does the action and it is not an invitation but a command.

    We cannot bear fruit apart from abiding in Him. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:16-17 “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Who cannot testify to that truth?

    Paul goes on to list the fruit of the flesh (immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these) and then the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) – truly they are opposites, as he stated above they are in opposition to one another.

    Jesus says, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. in John 15:8.

    Jesus had just said before that “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35).

    The world does not respond, as you said, because they recognize that our change is merely external and we are not living in the power of His resurrection. Too many of our brethren are living by the flesh, walking by the flesh, making decisions by the flesh, etc. If we begin walking by the Spirit, we will live in His resurrection daily. Then people would see Jesus in us and His power and His love and be drawn to the salt and the light.

    Okay, that was a l o n g comment :) … and I’m not sure that I even communicating everything I was thinking :)

    Blessings!

    ~Heather

  2. 4-7-2007

    Heather,

    Great comment! Thank you for sharing that with us. I do believe that abiding in Christ is important.

    -Alan

  3. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  4. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  5. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  6. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  7. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  8. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  9. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  10. 4-7-2007

    Alan-
    Great post. We’ve talked briefly about this before, and you’ve said it much better than I could have.
    To try to keep focused on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, I’ve been reading the accounts of His crucifixion in each of the Gospels. There is so much “stuff” going on, even in churches, that is such a pale imitation of what Jesus really did that I have been consciously trying to keep the Word before me.
    I’ve also chosen to immerse my ears in one song–“In Christ Alone”. There is so much truth in those lyrics!
    I guess the key to living the resurrection every day is that word, “intentional”. If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place.
    And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    Kat

  11. 4-7-2007

    Kat,

    I greatly appreciate these comments: “If I don’t make Jesus my priority, something else will take His place. And if He is my priority, every day is a holy day.
    ” Thank you!

    -Alan