"He was a good teacher." "He was a powerful leader." "He was a prophet from God." These are the most common spoken characterizations of Jesus by those who don’t believe that He was God. Also, many people say that He rose from death but, practically speaking (in their day to day, "real" life) don’t believe it. This characterizes the typical many who frequent Amazon churches, where Jesus is about religion.
Many believe that Jesus beat death and is alive, but periodically forget, myself included, and live quite independently of Him. We (all of us) are so screwed up and, like Peter, often fail what we believe. The church (those who genuinely believe in who Jesus is) historically has been a poor "witness" to the truth that Jesus was, and is, alive.
None of this discounts what happened two thousand years ago in a nondescript little garden near Jerusalem. Easter is a good time to reconsider what we believe. Jesus said He was God and then did something that would give His claims more weight than all other men. He lived after being dead almost 48 hours. Do we believe it? If we do, we can speak to Him, hear Him, and follow Him… today.
It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or believes. Jesus is seeking relationship with each of us and we have a choice. We can reject Him for a host of reasons or we can believe Him, which will transform our life to the very core.
Every person who buys it, who believes and follows Jesus, will be considered foolish. This is a given but will matter little when we decide that He is who He claimed to be. Once we interact with Him and experience relationship with Him, the other many voices will lose their influence over us. I once heard Josh McDowell discussing the evidence of the resurrection and He said that, though the evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus was overwhelmingly supportive to the honest seeker, the most convincing evidence in support of Jesus’ resurrection to him was that he spoke to Him that morning.
Today’s "Christianity" has very little to do with Jesus and conversing with, listening to and following Him. He is not desiring us to join a "church", but rather His expressed desire is that we hear Him, believe in who He is, and follow Him. We will love others who are doing the same and we will share our lives and experiences with them, thus becoming a church (a community of Jesus-lovers), perhaps of two or three, perhaps more. We can help each other fight to maintain the single focus of hearing the risen, living Jesus, and obeying Him.
Let’s think back today and decide, perhaps for the first time, perhaps again. Because He knew that we would be prone to fail, He said that He loves reconciliation, beginning new. We can return to Him today, believing in who He is, and begin a relationship with the living, speaking, risen Jesus, embracing His love for us, as we are. The same Jesus who said that He loves those broken, those hurting, and those who have failed. He is waiting to embrace us, if only we will come to Him, accepting what is true.
Jesus is risen. He is risen, indeed.