Reading Through The Bible in 2011, Part 30

What I Read Today: Luke 24

What Stood Out About What I Read: Luke 24: 25-27, “So he said to them, ‘You foolish people – how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures.”

Random Thoughts About What I Read:

It’s always fun to be a part of the interviews we do with people who want to be baptized in our church. See, the point is that we don’t baptize non-Christians, right? So, somebody’s got to listen to these folks and make sure they understand what it is they’re doing. It’s all very simple, really.

“So, why do you want to be baptized?” It’s always the first question.

Even the little kids seem to understand this one: “I want to show everybody that I’m a Christian.” Sometimes, we get, “The Bible says we’re supposed to.” They’re both right.

“Well, tell me about how you became a Christian,” we ask.

The little kids are pretty good with this one, too. “Jesus died on the cross for my sins.”

This opens a can of worms we ping-pong back and forth for a few minutes:

“Who was Jesus?” God’s Son.

“He died?” Yep. Right there on the cross.

“Why did he go to the cross?” This gets fuzzy with the kiddos, usually. But they usually get to the heart of it all pretty quickly. A sacrifice was needed because we sin and sinned.

“You sin?” Yep. A lot. It’s especially fun to hear the children go into a confessional of sorts at this point, which usually involves some sort of negative action towards a sibling, a parent or a teacher.

“And then what happened to Jesus?” They usually get to this one pretty quickly, too. “He rose again!”

“And you believe this?” Yeah!

Excellent. Then we get into a discussion about the practical matters of baptism. Towels and swimsuits and colored t-shirts and parents and who is going to actually perform the baptism and all that. It’s very cool to hear people’s stories about how they came to a point where they accepted Christ’s free gift and what He’s doing in their life and all. No question about that.

One thing I’ve learned that’s fun to do with the older kids or adults after all that is ask a simple question:

“So, now that that’s covered, can I ask you another question about that ‘rose again’ thing?” Sure.

“Why did He do that? I mean, if all your sins were paid for at the cross and they were all in the future and all that, why did he rise from the dead?”

After a blank stare we usually get, “Well, to fulfill prophecy, I guess.”

My response to that is, “Okay, sure. That’s one thing that his resurrection did, but why does it matter if he rose from the dead if all your sins were paid for?”

More blank stares.

Crickets could chirp if they got into our building.

I’m continually amazed at how good the suburban American Christian church is at focusing on the importance of the cross. And, in many ways, that’s as it should be. The flip-side of that coin is that the cross focuses so much on our past. The “what we were” part of our story.

But, fact of the matter is the resurrection is the part of our story from that moment forward. See, Christ said it Himself that he came that we might have LIFE (and LIFE WITH ABUNDANCE). And, what good is it if our sins are forgiven if we have no vehicle to live in that reality in the here and now.

I fail to see how a dead God can effectively give ABUNDANT LIFE to anyone.

The resurrection matters to how we live life now…because HE IS ALIVE, He can give us life.

And life with abundance.

And the application today seems very easy to me: Are you living a life of abundance found in Christ? Because the resurrection is the key, man. If Christ didn’t rise from the dead, then let’s party and let it rip. If He did, well, that changes all of human history. And there ain’t a lot of gap in-between from where I sit.

As an aside, feel free to mention when you’re talking to others about the Gospel message, make sure and mention the importance of the resurrection. Because that past-present-future of salvation is the message, and to leave out the resurrection is falling short of the entire story.

The beauty is in the exchanged life of our death for life through Him…and that’s worth telling.

(Tomorrow’s Reading: Song of Solomon 1-8)