“We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:4-5
That special time of year has once again arrived. The time when the various news outlets throughout our land take up the brave task of reminding Christians how stupid we are for believing the superstitious nonsense of a man, albeit a really good man, but a man nonetheless who died and came back to life. Over the course of the next several weeks leading up to the celebration of the Resurrection of Our Lord (Easter Sunday is April 8!), you can count on numerous news stories about Christianity, many of which will ironically be void of Christ-talk.
My first question/reaction to this is: so what? What does another person’s lack of faith in Jesus have to do with my faith in Jesus? Either Jesus is Lord or He is not. Either Jesus is the Son of God or He is not. Either Jesus stayed dead and gone or He is raised from the dead. No room for relativistic philosophizing here. Either Jesus told the truth or He lied. You cannot have it both ways. Furthermore, none of this is dependant upon my (or anybody else’s) acceptance of Jesus.
Just the same, I believe! I believe Jesus is who He says He is. I believe He is the Son of God. I believe He is the Word of God. I believe He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I believe He is the Good Shepherd. I believe He is the Resurrection and the Life. I believe He is my resurrection and my life! I believe the cowering disciples witnessed Jesus, resurrected from the dead. I believe that Thomas (who at first refused to believe) was given the opportunity to touch Jesus’ hands and side. I believe the witnesses really did see Jesus ascend into heaven. I believe Jesus will come back for me. I believe that if I should die before His return, even that will not stop Jesus from coming for me! I believe He will grant me a resurrection like His! I believe I will live again!
All of this is freely given to me ahead of time, before the Day, in my Baptism! I am connected to Jesus’ life that will never end because He has made me His own through Holy Baptism! What a gift!
“Now hell, its prince, the devil,
Of all their pow’r are shorn;
Now I am safe from evil,
And sin I laugh to scorn.
Grim death with all its might
Cannot my soul affright;
It is a pow’rless form,
Howe’er it rave and storm.”
Awake, My Heart, With Gladness (Lutheran Service Book, 467)