For the past 18 months, I’ve been working on writing a catechism, a distillation of the faith into concise questions and answers with brief supporting scriptures that could be the starting point for a conversation. The reason being I’m convinced its important for the Church to inoculate our young people with a healthy dose of catechesis before we ship them off to college, just enough so that when they first hear about Nietzsche or really study Darwin they won’t freak out and presume that what the Church taught them in 6th grade confirmation is the only wisdom the Church has to offer.
You can find all the previous posts here.
III. The Son
21. What does it mean to proclaim that God raised Jesus from the dead?
Resurrection means vindication.
By raising Jesus from the dead, God vindicate’s Christ’s vision of and fidelity to the Kingdom of God.
When we profess that God resurrected Jesus from the dead, we mean that God declared with the rumbling of the earth and a verdict as loud as an empty tomb that Jesus is the life God intended for us from the very beginning.
The cross shows Jesus’ commitment to his teaching of the Kingdom. He doesn’t repay evil with evil on his way to Calvary. He turns the other cheek all the way to the cross and, from the cross, he forgives his enemies and even prays for them with his dying breath. The empty grave shows God’s confirmation of Jesus’ Kingdom teaching. God’s vindication of Jesus.
“But God raised him up, having freed him from death,*because it was impossible for him to be held in its power.” – Acts 2.24
22. Do We Have to Believe in a Literal Resurrection?
Not unless you’re a Christian.
If Jesus was not raised from the dead, then there’s nothing transformative and death-defeating about his teaching. It just got Jesus killed. Death had the last word (and still does). If God did not raise Jesus from the dead, then God did not vindicate Jesus’ way of life.
Apart from the vindication of Easter, there’s nothing special about Jesus’ teachings. They lead only to crosses, and corroborate the rumor that true power lies with the cross-builders of the world not with the cross-bearers.
“If Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and our faith is futile.” – 1 Corinthians 15.14