Fr. Dale Matson
“The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. ‘He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come; see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead’.” (Matthew 28:5-7a, NASB)
I am continually amazed at those who question the reality of what we as Anglican Christians believe and proclaim in our Eucharistic Prayer every Sunday. The Priest states, “Therefore we proclaim the mystery of faith: and the Priest and People say, “Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.”
Today we celebrate both a miracle and a mystery. The miracle and mystery of the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centerpiece of our Christian faith. Some have boldly denied the evidence and the fact that Christ arose from the dead. They still call themselves followers of Jesus but they are not Christians because by denying the reality of His resurrection, they deny the reality of His divinity. Their Jesus is a “placebo Jesus”. He is a lesser Jesus; a cheaper Jesus. Theology is not psychology and Jesus is not a placebo. Our faith in Christ is only as good as our faith that he was resurrected. If you don’t believe that He was resurrected, then your Jesus was a good man and a teacher but he is not who He himself claimed to be. “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. (John 2:19-21).
Others have tried to turn the resurrection of our Lord into a kind of subjective receptionist theology. They claim it doesn’t matter if He arose from the dead. It is only important that we believe that He did. That is pure unadulterated claptrap. That is not faith at all. That is subjectivist nonsense that makes the reality of whether Christ was resurrected or not subject to the individual. Christ arose from the dead whether people believe this or not. I would call that kind of thinking “Over the Counter Jesus” because it has about the same efficacy as over the counter medications. Over the counter medications do not have the power to heal but they cost a lot less to obtain.
Others have attempted to offer a “generic Jesus”. There is no generic equivalent; no generic substitute. He is original and unique. Accept no substitutes. Only He has efficacy and gives us life when we are dead. “For you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:3-4).
Yes, prescription strength Jesus is costly. It will cost you all that you have and let us remember that we must run the race to the finish. Even prescription strength medication must be taken until it is used up. If you stop taking it because you feel better, you may be risking a reinfection worse than before. However, if we remain in Christ, we will be raised as He was raised. “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor. 15:20). Amen