Whatever we believe Jesus did in the past, and whatever we believe he will do after today, it's not as important as what he does now. The things our Savior does for us today matter. But, we get distracted by regrets and anxiety. We find more value in shame and guilt than in Jesus risen from the dead.
Jesus has risen from the dead, so now what? There has to be more to Christianity than Jesus risen from the dead. What about how we live right now? The sins of yesterday haunt us. The temptations that will inevitably greet us tomorrow arrive with promises of judgment and pain for all of us.
Everyday life drains from someone's face. Hearts grow cold. People and circumstances challenge us. Negative emotions bathe our minds. The road to financial security is paved with cruel intentions. Our children inherit greed. We snicker at people who show us compassion. The news frightens and divides us. God gives us the political leaders we deserve.
It's not difficult to sympathize with those who've become hopeless. But, do we display the same sympathy for those who, having given up on hope, self-medicate their pain with prescription drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, and even religion? Is it really that surprising when someone commits suicide? We're overwhelmed every day by peoples' disregard for those who suffer. They walk around with their heads bowed, thumb tapping their smartphone screen, eyes locked onto their social media scrawl.
Is it any wonder that at present the United States suffers from an epidemic of opiate addictions and school shootings when society refuses to confront the truth, that a significant amount of drug abuse and violence is the consequence of a society that's become mentally ill?
How is Jesus risen from the dead going to help us confront the reality of life today?
It's such an easy thing for us to say, "Jesus has risen!" But, it's difficult to believe. We've got to pay attention to the deluge of problems that threaten to overwhelm us today. We need to survive. Life is hard enough, but it's only made harder if we get distracted by pious platitudes. Jesus has risen, but that's not all that people care about. For many, it doesn't even make their top ten list.
But, a list of what we think is most worth caring about can't determine the value of Jesus risen from the dead, even though we've convinced ourselves that it can.
Our regrets and anxiety, self-abuse and addictions, violence and endless lists are signs that we don’t have an answer to the question: "Why am I here right now, alive, existing?" If anyone did have the answer they'd sell it and become richer than any Saudi oil sheik. And so we die distracted by trivialities, hoping there's something after death, believing that there isn't.
That's why whatever we believe Jesus did in the past, and whatever we believe he will do after today, isn't as important as what he does now. The things our Savior does for us today matters most. More important than what he does though is where he does it. Jesus is risen and comes to us today (specifically because he has risen from the dead) to announce: "I have done Calvary for you."
Jesus suffered for us one time for all time on the cross. He stretched out as far as his arms would reach and grabbed hold of all our regrets and anxiety, self-abuse and addictions, violence and endless lists. He allowed Roman soldiers to nail them to his cross. But who would this benefit if it were not delivered and given to us today?
If we want our sins forgiven we don't go to Calvary or the empty tomb on Easter morning. We go to the Lord’s Supper where Jesus is most God, most Savior, most risen and alive for us. The cross and empty tomb are proof that Jesus won salvation for us through his bloody suffering, death, and resurrection. At the Lord's Supper, it is given to us.
The benefits of Jesus' death are given to us through the Supper and comes through the power of Jesus' resurrection victory over sin, death, and Satan. So rather than being a pious platitude, it turns out that "Jesus is risen" is our victory cry. It's the answer to our question, "Why am I here right now, alive, existing?"
Jesus risen from the dead, to sum up, is what matters most.