Below is an article I wrote for the Randolph Church of Christ bulletin which I have adapted slightly for this blog. The original bulletin article was titled “If We Believe…” but I changed the title to reflect the inclusion of the following video to by Peter Rollin’s titled “I Deny the Resurrection.” The video is a bit provocative but I think you’ll understand his point and hopefully my point as well.
If we believe in Jesus, in his death and resurrection, then it changes everything. One of my favorite theologians, Jürgen Moltmann, in his book Jesus Christ for Today’s World, writes, “So what we can know historically about Christ’s resurrection must not be abstracted from what we can hope from it, and what we have to do in its name” (p. 79). He goes on to say that “Faith in the resurrection is itself an energy which strengthens and raises people up… in the perspective of life’s future” (p. 80).
Moltmann became a believer in Jesus while imprisoned in a British prison camp during World War II as a German soldier. His belief in Jesus and his death and resurrection changed the way he understood the world. Moltmann understood what Paul argues at length for in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. Namely that if Jesus Christ has died and been raised from death, that every enemy including death has been defeated.
It is a freeing revelation to know that nothing, not even death, can defeat us anymore. That is good news but it is good news with an implication. The Apostle Paul ends his argument with this admonition: “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor 15.58).
If we believe then we will give ourselves to the work of the Lord. And if we are unwilling to give ourselves to the work of the Lord, you could say that we really don’t believe.
Ministry is rarely easy. Sometimes it involves risk and danger, and it surely forces us to confront our fears and the assumptions we have about life and the good news of God’s kingdom that Jesus lived and preached. What we must remember is that Jesus has gone before us in death and resurrection so that we can give ourselves to the work of the Lord in faith.