“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again
to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”
(1 Peter 1:3 ESV)
I make it a point not to talk about politics, too much. I don’t want my position as pastor, nor my pulpit and the message of the Gospel that I proclaim, to be too closely identified with one particular party or another. I will not put campaign signs in my yard. I will not financially support one candidate or another. I have in the past been asked to pray at the opening of a county-wide rally for a particular party, and if asked by the opposing party, I would gladly offer the same prayer for them as well.
That being said…
Tuesday President Obama spoke at a Easter Prayer Breakfast at the White House about the amazing ability of the resurrection to “put everything else into perspective.”
Here’s the content of the President’s message:
“I wanted to host this breakfast for a simple reason – because as busy as we are, as many tasks as pile up, during this season, we are reminded that there’s something about the resurrection – something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective.”
“We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work… but then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross.
“And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world – past, present and future – and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.
“In the words of the book Isaiah: “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
“This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this “Amazing Grace” calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son – his Son and our Savior.”
(Source CNS News www.cnsnews.com)
First, let me say “thank you” to our President for publically affirming his faith, but also the centrality of the teaching that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior, who died for our sins, and was raised from the dead for our salvation. Any opportunity to have that message proclaimed is welcome.
Secondly, it is so true that as we recall the events of Holy Week, we can begin to get our priorities back in order. Jesus willingly took that road of suffering which led to the cross for us, he bore our sins in his body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24), the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18). This was the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us (Romans 5:8), and the love which His disciples are to show to one another (John 13:34-35). Truly the events of Holy Week are a great reminder to repent of our cold and unmoving love, our reluctance to take up our cross and follow Christ, and a motive to praise God for the gift of His Son, in whom we have our victory.
However, is this all that “something about the resurrection” does? I don’t fault the President here. He is not the “Pastor in Chief” or the nation’s resident theologian, so I do not expect an exhaustive answer here. But as a pastor, I must add that the resurrection must do more than just “put things in perspective.”
The resurrection is the sine qua non of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection of Christ, Christianity is meaningless, deceitful, and we Christians are pitiful fools (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). Before the resurrection, the disciples were ready to give up and go back to fishing. Without the resurrection, Jesus would have gone down in history as another good teacher and prophet, no different than all those who had come before. But because of the resurrection, Jesus is revealed to be the Son of God (Rom 1:4), those who believe in Him are justified by God (Rom 4:25), we are assured of our victory over death and of the resurrection to eternal life (1 Cor 15:50-57; 1 Thess 4:13-18); and the life we now live we live in the power of the risen Lord (Rom 6:4, 8:11). The resurrection is so much more than an adjustment of our priorities – it is the confirmation of God’s gift of life and peace to those who believe in Christ the Lord.