Philosophy Lite: Jesus gave his life for yours
April 20, 2011 at midnight
Updated April 21, 2011 at 11:22 p.m.
By Raymond Smith
As Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples that night, he gave them instructions on how to keep alive the remembrance of His death and resurrection. And since that day, Christians worldwide celebrate the taking of what we now call Communion or the Eucharist - the loaf symbolizing His body and the wine, His blood. God's method of salvation had to be of such compelling interest that it would grip the lives of people down through the ages. He often does the spectacular in order to get our attention and burn ideas into our memory. What an awesome plan: His life for mine. His life for yours. As Watson Goodman has said, "Who am I that a King would die in my place."
While there was no specific instruction to celebrate Christmas or Easter, we see no reason why these events should not be observed. We do not know the time of Jesus' birth, but we certainly know the time of His death because it is so closely identified with the Jewish Passover. And what a coincidence that His resurrection should occur at a season of renewal and rebirth. Martin Luther said that the Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
Jesus' resurrection sends the message that we too shall not die, but live. Though the body dies, our soul continues without interruption. The symbol is often given as that of a butterfly. Formerly a larva, at the appointed time, it bursts forth as a beautiful butterfly. Hospice of South Texas will celebrate the release of many live butterflies on Sunday, May 15, from 2 to 5 p.m., at their headquarters at 605 E. Locust St. in Victoria.
In I Corinthians 15:42-50, the resurrection body is described in four ways:
1. It is incorruptible.
2. It is glorious.
3. It is powerful.
4. It is spiritual in nature - not a spirit instead of a body, but a spiritual body.
Elton Trueblood, in his Philosophy of Religion, said: "Immortality may have many meanings, but there is only one worth discussing, the survival of personal individuality after the shock of physical death. What so disturbs us, making death a part of the problem of evil, is the waste, which the destruction of personality would be entail if it is as final as it appears to be. Personality is the most precious manifestation of reality known in the world, being infinitely superior to things or abstractions."
Man was created to be immortal. Everything in this universe centers around man, and yet some have such a low opinion of themselves that they waste their lives in vain pursuits and debauchery.
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?" This piercing question confronts us all - what will you do with Jesus?
Raymond F. Smith is a deacon at Fellowship Bible Church in Victoria and president of Strong Families of Victoria.