“How does the death of a guy, even if he is God, do anything for me now?” A friend asked me this a short time ago. This person didn’t doubt that God raised Jesus from the dead. They doubt how it could have any effect on them today. It wasn’t “Good News” if it didn’t really matter. On one hand, I understand this person’s question. I understand the desire to connect the Resurrection to our life today. On the other hand God has revealed to us His purpose and plan in raising Jesus from the dead. Simon has outlined some evidence that gives us confidence in the historicity of Jesus’ Resurrection. Simon then drew from the biblical stories and concluded ‘Jesus is risen, therefore you have work ahead of you’ here. Part of the work is to share the Hope that is found in this event. Even though it is ancient history, it has present day effects. Let’s get plugged into leadership and see how we can relate the Resurrection to our conversations today.
Guest Post by Simon Foster, Student Life Pastor at Life Charlotte Church
How does this play out in everyday normal conversations? It is important that we don’t just learn and do nothing with it. Actually, the best learning really does come from talking about it. Also, the Resurrection can be a fun topic to discuss with Christians and those that don’t believe. Just go for it and see where the conversation takes you. Pray after that God works in that person and gives you more opportunities in the future. Enjoy the opportunities. Here are a few ideas for what to say, how to say it and what matters when it comes to a conversation around this topic of the Resurrection. …
1) If Jesus truly did conquer death, and through that, he gave life to those who are redeemed. Then no matter what you or I might go, through, there is HOPE.
2) It is always better for us to live within the TRUTH than outside of it. As I have briefly shown in a past blog, the resurrection is true and we can have faith in it.
3) Having the serum (the cure for sin and separation from God which is the Gospel) doesn’t mean we are never sick with something else. Our sins have been paid for, but our life is not perfect. Romans 5 is a good read.
4) Ask good questions. Asking good questions is key. It matters “what” a person is asking, but sometimes I find that getting to the root of “why” can be very revealing. To get to the “why”, you have to dig by asking good questions. This has been my experience. “If Christianity were fabricated, would it really __________” I like this line. I am always looking for lines like this that help in conversation. It reminds me of the “criterion of embarrassment” which makes a great case for the authenticity of the Resurrection. Why would the early church share so many embarrassing situations? Wouldn’t they just share all the highlights and the parts that make them proud of the leaders of the church (the disciples/Apostles)? But through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) we see the good and the bad. To me, this is such a powerful criterion that helps me with confidence but also is very enticing to at least open the door for conversation with most people. Here’s another great question when talking about the Resurrection, “How would you explain what happened?”
5) Be a good listener! A good listener actually listens. Try your best to not be looking for your next point or counterargument, actually, listen. Then Pause and speak to exactly what they were talking about. Being a good listener will open up doors for future conversations. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to talk to that person that actually cares. Be a good listener.
6) Look at the example of Jesus. Read through the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John). He would answer questions with a question. He used illustrations, told stories, used visuals around him. He was engaging, passionate, wise in his timing. Learn from Jesus and watch others you respect as they converse with those around them. Be a learner.
7) Love people unconditionally. Build relationships. Take time for people. The saying goes “they won’t care about what you know until they know that you care” or something like that. I find this to be true.
8) Pray! This is a quote from a very wise sage “You’ve got to pray just to make it today” – MC Hammer, Ha! Seriously, though, Pray that God will make them hungry to want to talk to you about the Resurrection and that it will lead to them believing the Gospel, a life transformed starts with prayer. From my experiences, when you pray there is an opportunity for two things to happen. One, you think about that person more and you tend to care about them more which leads to being around them which lead to conversation. Also, God listens and is given an opportunity to answer. So why not pray? Go for it and see what happens. This is one of my favorite quotes “Prayer doesn’t prepare us for the greater work, it is the greater work.” (Oswald Chambers – My Utmost For His Highest). Do we believe it?
Theologian R.C. Sproul wrote, “The claim of resurrection is vital to Christianity. If Christ has been raised from the dead by God, then He has the credentials and certification that no other religious leader possesses. Buddha is dead. Mohammad is dead. Moses is dead. Confucius is dead. But, according to Christianity, Christ is alive.” Pause and let this reality sink in, Christ is alive! How does this reality affect you and your perspective of the world around you?