“He raised him from the dead.”
How do you respond to that statement? Maybe this week, approaching Easter, your thoughts are about the resurrection of Jesus and your first response is positive – a response of belief. Maybe you’ve been hearing recently about money-hungry false prophets who claim the ability to raise the dead, so your first response is negative – a response of disbelief. Many of us have been in both places. Many of us believe in the resurrection of Jesus, yet we realize how unusual a resurrection is. We are quick to reject claims that it happens now, prior to the resurrection of all the dead that Jesus told us about in John 5:28-29.
Acts 17 details the responses of various people to the claim that Jesus was dead, but is alive again. In Thessalonica, some Jews, a great number of Greeks including a significant number of women believed. In Berea, more Jews were at least interested in the news of the resurrection because they searched the scriptures to see if what Paul preached was true. In Athens, some sneered, others wanted to hear more, and a few believed.
I’ve heard some say that you can’t react with apathy to the message of the resurrection. They say you’ll either believe with a life-changing faith, or you will disbelieve and be unmoved in the pursuit of whatever it is you are pursuing. I disagree. I think some of the Athenians who were more interested in a philosophical slant on the resurrection idea were responding with apathy when they said, “We want to hear you again.” I think that many of us who grew up in the Bible belt constantly hearing the message of resurrection believe it to be true, yet don’t live the unusual lives that the unusual resurrection calls us to live. In fact, according to Barna (Index of Leading Spiritual Indicators, 1996) eighty-five percent of Americans believe in the resurrection of Jesus, yet only twenty-six percent of us read our Bibles once per week. That’s a sign of apathy. We should change that. That’s Life at Work!