Recently I Tweeted this out:
“If Easter is not history, we must become cynics.” – Brennan Manning
This quote was taken from Brennan’s book, Ruthless Trust. As I recall (I don’t have the book with me right now), the point is that if the resurrection did not happen there is no hope for humanity.
There comes a point at which we must choose to believe the evidence we have. It is no good putting off the decision until there is no choice but to believe. God does not work that way. Believe me, I often wish he did work that way. It would be so much easier if we just had detailed instructions like a standard operating procedure to step us through the process.
One of the by-products of growing up in a legalistic system is that one can get frozen into inaction because the “right” thing to do is not obvious. When you live by rules, there is discomfort in any situation for which no rule has been established.
For those of us who claim belief in Jesus, times come when our claim to belief is tested. If the resurrection of Jesus is true, then I can allow myself to trust that God will work things out in the end. I can step out in faith that no matter the outcome, God is working things out for his good purpose.
If Easter is history, then even when I mess up (a regular occurrence), the resurrection shows me that my mess is not the final word. If God can take the travesty of the crucifixion and turn it into the means of our salvation, he can take my mistakes and use them for his glory.
The resurrection should free me from the bondage to rules and legalism. If I am seeking to please God by living in harmony with his command to love God and love others, then I am not likely to go far off track and even when I do, God can turn the situation (and me) around and provide a means of recovery.
I believe it was Martin Luther who said, “go and sin boldly.” The point is not that we are to intentionally sin, but that we cannot allow fear of sin to inhibit us from living life. Life remains a messy business and we will make mistakes and the brokenness inside of us will manifest itself. But the resurrection is evidence that all this will be conquered.
If the resurrection is history, the power of fear has been broken.