[Column] Do You Believe This?

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the core doctrine of Christianity. Christian theology or faith without resurrection is no different from any other religion. What sets Christianity apart from other religions is resurrection. Without it, our ultimate objective will be to eat, drink, and seek hedonism which will eventually lead to the demise of society, family, and morality. Without resurrection, everything will fall apart. Because there was a historical, factual event known as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, everything takes on significance.

Resurrection is the fulfillment of the prophecy. Our Lord Himself said in Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” In Matthew 16:21, it says, “Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” And the disciples were filled with grief.”

The disciples of Jesus Christ commonly believed that He will liberate and rule Israel as an enthroned monarch. However, when He said, “I will die and rise again in three days,” the disciples were filled with grief. Rather than focus on “rising again,” they dwelled on “dying,” from the prophecy of the Crucifixion. Here we discover the importance of the proper attitude, perspective, and outlook in approaching the Word of God.

If we solely focus on “dying,” we are consumed with anxiety, fear, and despair. However, if we look in the direction of “living” hope, joy, and courage spring forth within us.

There are those who always laugh and those who never laugh. It is said that their immune systems are different because laughter produces endorphins while anger and wrath release the toxin known as noradrenalin. Moreover, it has been observed that laughter improves immunity and strengthens antibodies. According to Japanese neurologist Dr. Shigeo Haruyama, accepting a given situation positively and constructively regardless of its unpleasant nature triggers the brain to release good hormones. The despair and agony of the disciples were only natural because they only embraced Jesus’ words “I will die.”

There are many prophecies in the Bible. They have all been fulfilled and proven accurate. The virgin birth of Jesus Christ, birth at Bethlehem, Passion, Crucifixion, and resurrection were all fulfilled according to the prophecy. There is only one prophecy yet to be fulfilled: the second coming. This too will come to pass according to the prophecy given in the Word of God.
We must understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the resurrection and life. Insects metamorphosize from eggs to larvae to chrysalises to adults. While this process of transformation is truly wondrous, we must not forget that it is not resurrection. Metamorphosis may be likened to reincarnation in Eastern religions. An attempt to understand the mystery of life from the idea of reincarnation is at the core of Buddhism. However, something quite different is at the foundation of Christianity: Resurrection. Herein lies the root of Christianity.

Jesus came to Bethany upon hearing the news of Lazarus’s death. What He said before reviving Lazarus is important: “I am the resurrection.” He is the resurrection; not one of a number of resurrections but the only resurrection. After affirming to his sisters that Lazarus will live again, Jesus told Lazarus to come out and he “came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face” (John 11:44).

We must believe in the power of resurrection. What are the causes of grief and despair in your life? Believe in the will of God; believe in the power of resurrection. In 1973, the President of Uganda was an infamous dictator named Idi Amin. People in Uganda terribly suffered for years under his dictatorship. During this time, there was a pastor named Kipasampandi, who was in charge of the biggest church in Uganda. At the time, Amin’s dissidents were indiscriminately killed. On Easter day, Amin’s death squad broke into the church and threatened him at a gunpoint.

The pastor then wore a big smile and said, “Please do whatever you have to do. Just give me some time for prayer. Then you can kill me.” Considering his prayer the last request, the death squad agreed. He quietly prayed exactly as Jesus prayed, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” As he concluded his prayer with “Amen,” the death squad said “Thank you very much for praying for us” and quickly disappeared. After his brush with death, the pastor reportedly said the following: “I have no fear if I were to die now. Why? Because it is the morning of Easter. This is the time when I’m witnessing His resurrection and being filled with the faith in resurrection. Death has no hold on me.” How true this is. Like the pastor himself, we need resurrection faith.

There was a famous actress named Lilli palmer. In 1950, she met Helen Keller who devoted her life for the causes of social reform and political activism in spite of her deafness, blindness, and muteness.

Palmer asked Keller, “Do you believe in life after death?” Keller then responded, “Most certainly. It is no more than passing from one room into another.” Keller went on, “But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other -room- I shall be able to see.”

What Our Lord said at Lazarus’s funeral before the body of Lazarus was “I am the resurrection and life.” That means through Him, we will rise and live again. In resurrection, we can find the answer to all our problems. The key is resurrection. I believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I also believe that I will be resurrected. I imagine what my life would be like if there were no resurrection. I see myself in 80s or 90s. Shaking hands and legs; a crooked back; a diseased body.

On the contrary, when I picture my resurrected self with a spiritual body my heart leaps up. My face will be radiant, my body will be full of energy, and my spirit will be high. Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” That’s right.

We must thank Him. How can we not render gratitude unto God? Our Lord asked Martha said to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26). The question Our Lord asked Martha is also addressed to us today.

Leave a Reply