As we are now in the Easter season, this is an appropriate time to think about how each one of us is part of the Resurrection experience and is held secure in God’s love for all eternity. We can come at this from two angles.
First, we can say that Jesus’ resurrection is a convincing assurance of our own resurrection. Demoralised disciples, fearful for their lives, were transformed into confident evangelists for the Risen Lord. They suddenly were prepared to risk everything, including their lives, on the back of the Easter experience. They had good reason to believe what Paul wrote a few years later in 1 Corinthians 15: that the Risen Jesus was the “firstfruits” (i.e. the first sheaf of the future harvest) of the Resurrection for those coming after him.
The way the fragmentary story of the Resurrection is told in scripture is what you would expect when mainly simple people were trying to describe an astonishing compelling series of events beyond normal experience . The New Testament story is NOT consistent with a major conspiracy, a hoax or deception, a mass delusion, or anything similar. However, we have to say the precise nature of the Resurrection is wrapped in mystery, and seems to defy scientific explanation.
The second way of coming to think of our own resurrection is to reflect on the way our own lives and human experiences are pointers to a life beyond this one. The sense that life here is incomplete, that there is a yearning for significance and meaning in the human heart, the fact that we have the capacity to reflect on spiritual things – all these, and lots more, are suggestive of a human spirit that can transcend human limitations. All this is not to be confused with mere wishful thinking. What I am arguing is that there is something about the way we are made that implies that we have a purpose and destination beyond this present life.
These two approaches can come together if we think about Love. Human love is a pointer to something transcendent – I would say a pointer to the God of Love who is the full expression of what we only glimpse here. But love is also behind the Easter story of Death and Resurrection – the New Testament story of a loving God coming to our rescue and offering us eternal life. Thus, human experience and the Christian story go hand in hand to offer a resurrection to us all.