The Meaning of Resurrection – II

The Owl’s last post, June 30, was an attempt to answer our friend Ken’s question about what Jesus’ resurrection means; what does it reveal that we did not already know from Old Testament times? The question came up because we had cited one of our favorite sayings of Jaroslav Pelikan: “If Christ is risen, nothing else matters, and if Christ is not risen—then nothing else matters.”

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The Meaning of Resurrectiion – I

On Easter Day this year the Owl posted an item entitled “Resurrection,” with reference to a saying of Jaroslav Pelikan, “If Christ is risen, nothing else matters, and if Christ is not risen-then nothing else matters.” Our friend Ken asked about this idea that Resurrection is all there is, or all that matters to the New Testament writers; and what is meant by “Resurrection” after all?

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Everything in the New Testament was written from the standpoint of Resurrection faith. Every description of Jesus, including the ministry of teaching and healing before his death, and every exhortation to the churches in the letters of Paul or others; all are set forth by people already steeped in the faith. Hence, they are “Resurrection appearances.”

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Getting the Faith

The Owl longs to speak with theologically literate others. Literacy and numeracy are considered the most basic elements of education. It would be more accurate to say they are basic preparations. For an education that supports life, we need a third thing more basic: faith, italicized here as foreign words are, because it is wholly outlandish, not a thing not taught by flesh and blood.

Faith is neither a concept of mind nor a force of nature. It is more like a gift, or even an assault, from outside the world’s horizon, disproportionate in its impact. We can’t construct faith for ourselves, nor find it by some epic theodyssey. Unlike Odysseus’ assailants, the names of ours are Love, Mercy, and Freedom—all fierce enough in their ways.

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Things that matter

On Easter day, April 12, the Owl offered the post entitled Resurrection, speaking of that as the most important of all articles of faith, the sine qua non, and the one that should be taught before asking believers to endorse any others. In fact, Resurrection is not just a traditional teaching of the church; it is the event on which the whole history of the world turns, when God demonstrates that his covenant with his people is stronger than death. The post ends with a saying of Jaroslav Pelikan that appears on the sidebar of our homepage:

“If there is Resurrection, nothing else matters.
If there is not Resurrection, nothing else matters.”

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