Focal Passage: Luke 24:1-12
A few years ago I was going through the familiar process of making a gallon of iced tea, when something went terribly wrong. I boiled the tea, measured and poured the sugar, and filled the pitcher with water. As I prepared to place the freshly brewed beverage in the refrigerator, I discovered my mistake. I forgot the tea!
In all my tea related activity, I had made a gallon of sugar water. Despite my good intentions, the finished product didn’t even resemble tea.
A similar, but far more tragic, deletion occurs in an ever-widening stream of mainline congregations. In the name of political correctness and human reasoning, many churches fill the traditional church container with spiritual sugar water devoid of the primary content – the resurrected Jesus. These churches still talk about the resurrection of Jesus, but, as Jerry Vines has stated, they use our vocabulary but not our dictionary.
They redefine the resurrection with metaphorical meanings like “Jesus rising in our hearts,” choosing the disastrous conclusions of naturalism over faith in a Savior who died and rose again.
First-century Christians never would have risked their lives for a weak religious philosophy.
They took up their crosses daily because they believed Jesus had fulfilled the promises of God. They could not lower the priority of the death, burial and bodily resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), so how can we? Only this finished work of Christ secures our victory over death and power for new life.
Although we believe these key doctrines, we are in constant danger of shelving them and creating dead orthodoxy.
Even if we’ve heard the gospel a million times, we must stand before the empty tomb in awe, just like the eyewitnesses that first Easter morning.
We must demonstrate faith that sees the resurrection as more than a past historical event.
We must show and tell the world that through Jesus’ resurrection we have been raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).
If we focus on the pitcher, we’ll soon forget the tea.