Responding to Resurrection

Scripture: Revelation 1:9-20

In roughly two weeks Americans will go to the polls to elect local, state, and national offices. Many have been simultaneously discouraged and drawn to the spectacle of the US presidential election this cycle. Dramatic and almost cataclysmic claims are made by both sides concerning the direness of the situation should the other candidate be elected.

In Revelation we find John isolated on the island of Patmos. We aren’t certain, but we have every indication he is exiled there because of spreading the revolutionary good news of Jesus the Messiah. Revolutionary is not meant in the way advertisers bandy the word about… buy this ‘revolutionary juicer’ or experience this ‘revolutionary resort.’ The Good News of Jesus was causing a sudden and complete overthrow of conventional Roman priorities, allegiances, and societal structures. The Jesus Way was not seen as merely the introduction of new ideas about God or the emergence of a new god to join the pantheon. The Jesus Way ignited a subversive alternative way of life.

People were drawn to this counterculture expression of community. They saw people radically sacrificing, banding together, looking out for one another, and caring for the overlooked, despised & oppressed. These gatherings claimed to embody the ethos, creativity, compassion, and transformative power of the executed enemy of the state, Jesus of Nazareth. Not only did they claim to exhibit this life-giving energy of Jesus, but they actually claimed the Spirit of God had taken up residence in their lives. This Spirit animated their lives. They claimed this Spirit enabled them to see beyond normal parameters and envision life enveloped in the reign of Jesus.

This Jesus, who had been tried and executed as an enemy of the state, had gone through death and emerged in a new power and new life. The people who saw him in the flesh, and the people who saw his life in these little communities they called the “body of Christ” all responded with radical hope and faith that this Jesus life was the real hope the world needed. When John of Patmos sees this Jesus he is floored. John likely had been isolated to keep from further troublemaking for Rome. But when he sees the resurrected Jesus he realizes his life is being propelled back into the revolutionary action.

What’s your response to the resurrected Jesus?

How does his life open up new possibilities in your own world?

How have you seen the revolution of Jesus unfold in your community?

How can you join this movement of God anew?

-Christopher Mack