I’ve been continuing in post-easter mode with articles for the Border Watch.
Next week will have a remembrance theme.
I’m conscious that not everyone will read all of these, so even though themes overlap they have to stand on their own.
I’m also working on the idea that there will be a committed readership that identify as Christian. It may be larger than the readership among those who don’t.
A distinct part of the discipline of these is the title. It’s an area that I struggle with.
I was working under ‘A Singular Perception Of The Risen Lord Jesus’.
The editor decided on ‘Individual Perception Varies Resurrection View’.
Do you remember ‘dress-gate’ back in late February? It seemed like everyone on the internet was arguing about a picture of a dress that some people believed was blue with black highlights, while others, seeing the same picture, were adamant the dress was white with gold features.
Twitter exploded with whiteandgold and blueandblack hashtags, families and friends were divided, celebrities weighed in with their opinions via social media, and those with qualifications in Vision Sciences had a rare time in the spotlight (so to speak).
The best explanation seemed to be that colour was a construct of our brains and vision, with light, past experiences and other factors accounting for the differences in perception.
People can look at the same object and truly be correct in their own minds when they see it with completely different colours.
There are some people who propose a similar view about the resurrection of Jesus. The assertion is made that resurrection didn’t mean returned from the grave free from the power of death; but rather it meant that Jesus’ followers aimed to adopt his teaching and attitudes in their own lives and actions, and by so doing continue his ‘life’.
The argument would observe that the concept of resurrection and Jesus’ return are a metaphor for this shared conviction.
Everyone else would see an occupied tomb, but the disciples of Jesus perceived an empty one. With both being ‘right’ in their own minds.
The problem with this particular theory is that both the text of the Bible and the actions of the disciples seem to go out of their way to disprove it.
In Luke’s gospel, among others, the risen Lord Jesus is described in physical terms, able to be touched and eating food. It was not an idea or philosophy that came forth from the tomb, it was a person.
Similarly, in the Acts of the Apostles, the teaching of the disciples was about meeting the risen Jesus, not adopting a moral code or ethical precepts. Time and again, we observe the aim of their work was to see people in relationship with Jesus, not reform society.
Sometimes you might hear people say that they’re Christians because they keep the ten commandments, went forward at a rally, go to church every Sunday, or have lived a good life. If these are the only reasons folk think they’re a Christian or going to heaven, they’re not actually following that which the Bible teaches and the early Christians stressed.
The early church wanted to make sure people wouldn’t falsely fall into the idea that Christianity was whatever people wanted to make it to be. They guarded against the idea it was all a matter of perception.
Perhaps you’ve mistakenly been thinking that Christians are all about a moral and ethical values based on the teaching of Jesus. If that’s been the case please reconsider, and, instead, consider that Christianity is all about meeting the risen Lord Jesus.