The Resurrection of Jesus
by Father Charles Irvin, M.Div, J.D.
Like Jurors in a Court Trial we are the recipients of the testimony of eye-witnesses, eye-witnesses present during the
Christ-Event, present with Him in His Life, at
His Death, and in present with Him after
There are Three Dimensions or levels presented to us. The First
deals with Historical Facts; these Eye-Witnesses present things that they really saw, really touched and really felt. With specific
detail their testimony presents us with facts of the Kangaroo Court
Trial of Jesus of Nazareth; of His
Cruel Torturing; and on a given day, at a specific place
and time, of His Crucifixion,
At the Next Level they testify as to His Resurrection, again with
detailed specifics, as you just read in this Gospel account. And in their testimony they present to us the Hope
that we, too, will experience Resurrection. Because of the Jesus of Nazareth
Who became the Christ of Glory in His Resurrection, we too shall pass
through the same journey. Because of what actually happened to Jesus Christ, we are here in
this Holy Sacrament to be joined, by God's Power, into the
One aspect deals with the past, the other with our future. But what about the present? We tend to ignore that. When we want
to distance ourselves from some one or some thing, we place them in the remote past or the yet to be experienced future. Those who are
into that sort of thing will leave the Church with Easter still in the dim past
or the vague future. Both responses are the techniques of Denial. It's the stuff of which
Cults are made.
Cults can't deal with present realities - and seek ways out.
What I am confronting you with now is the here-and-now reality of Easter. Saint Paul was intent
upon bringing us into the present reality of Christ's Resurrection in our daily lives - as we live them here
and now. Christ's Resurrection was a present reality to him. He was intent on bringing us along with
him into that Risen Presence of Christ. All of the writings of Saint Paul fall to the floor as useless
rubbish without that reality.
In other words, we have to start living right now; we have to begin living "IN Christ"
here and now. To approach Jesus simply as the Historical Jesus is to
escape into Denial and avoid the challenges and changes required of us by
Christ. To view the Death, Resurrection and
Ascension of Jesus as something yet to be entered into in the future is to fuzz-over it all, to
render it vague . . . and once again escape into Denial.
No one has to wait until after Death to enter into the Life of Christ.
The demand of the New Testament is a demand challenging us to enter into it now. The teachings and
urgings of Jesus Christ are all directed at the presence of God's Kingdom among us
now. "You are not far from the Kingdom," He would say.
His constant refrain was: "Do not be afraid. Peace be with you. I am with you
now and until the end of the world. Fear not, I am here with you".
We can live a Life of Materialism; we can spend our energies on the acquisition of more Things, more Securities, more Comfort
and more Renown, more Prestige, and more Power. But all that we amass and acquire lacks one essential ingredient - it lacks the
Eternal Quality. I remember hearing about the funeral of a very wealthy and
powerful man, a man who had devoted his life to the accumulation of net worth and the power that went with it. "How
much did he leave behind"? one of the mourners inquired of another. "All
of it", was the reply.
How absolutely true. And, we might ask: What was the quality of that man's living while he was
multiplying his net worth?
But supposing your main purpose in life is to invest your self into the lives of others? Suppose those Parables
of Jesus about being a Good Steward, about being a profitable and productive servant and a wise investor were taken seriously as a
here-and-now call to enter into His Kingdom? Suppose all of our techniques of
Denial were dropped and we simply and Humbly
Surrendered and accepted the Immediate Presence of Christ and followed His
insistent call? What quality of life would we have?
We can view Easter as History, apply historical criticism to it, follow the Jesus
Seminar and strip away the New Testament and most of the quotations of Jesus as having
no validity, judging them to be "un-historical". We can take the testimony of the eye-witnesses whose
reports we have in the New Testament and render them to be merely academically interesting tid-bits of historical fiction.
We can live in Denial, if we choose.
Alternatively, we can take it all and make of it some vague assent to a remote and distant life to be lived in our yet to be faced future.
Or we can pick up our Bibles and read them as Clarion-Calls given to each one of us as individuals,
and to all of us here collectively as Christians, to live in the present reality of Christ's
The testimony has been given. You are the Jury. It is now up to you to render your verdict and to receive that which is given to you here,
to receive it as it is, and not to reshape it according to your predetermined bias or needs for Denial.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Jury. You have heard the eye-witness and received their testimony. The
Principalities and Powers of this world
have already given us their Judgment - they judged
Christ, absolved themselves and then got rid of
Him (or so they thought). Remember that your verdict will have its effect only on you, for
Christ is Risen, Victorious over
Satan, Sin and
Death. What remains to be learned is what will happen to you.
Yes, Christ is Risen, Victorious over
Sin and Death. He is here to give you
all that is now His, inviting you to join yourselves into His risen humanity here
in the Sacraments, and to walk in the Glorious Freedom of the sons and daughters of
May all of Easter's very real and present joy, along with all of
its Power and Glory in the living, be yours and your
loved ones - both now and forever.
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