Or something long and complicated like that… you know what I mean- its the difference between a simple retelling of an event and a fuller reflection on the meaning of that event… or the difference between a great picture and knowing what makes a great picture. One is ‘the thing’, the other is knowing and talking about ‘the thing’.
Which is what chapter 15 of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church is all about- its a reflection on what Jesus’ resurrection means, in terms of their faith, their hope, and their lives today. Its an immense piece of writing, and well worth the effort it takes… but it does take effort.
So my beginners guide to this would include:
It really, really did happen- I mentioned this yesterday, and I’m going to say it when I speak about it on Sunday, but I’ll put it here too- as far as Paul, and the early church, and all churches worldwide and pretty much all of the 1.2 billion Christians alive today are concerned, Jesus’ resurrection happened. That doesn’t make it easier to understand, mind.
Its really important- there are things in the Bible that we can and do disagree about. There are things which are unclear. There are things that aren’t mentioned. But this ain’t one of them. If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, then, well, our hope for the future is grounded on something untrue.
Its a signpost- cue neat picture:
Jesus’ death was a sign, and a confirmation, that death wasn’t the end- that death should hold no fear because it led to a new life, one that is so much better than this life, its as if we’re living as a shadow at the moment. Jesus showed what that might begin to look like.
Paul wrote all this stuff, not because he wanted to show off, but because the folk in Corinth were beginning to forget the importance of the resurrection- what they’d heard from eye-witnesses was beginning to become ‘just a story’ and lose its impact on their lives.
I hope that today I can live as if the resurrection of Jesus, with all its implications, is true.