Around this time of year, mainstream news sources roll out questions about the validity of the resurrection. As sure as the ground hog shows up on February 2nd, questions about the resurrection arise before Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.
What shakes me isn’t the mainstream media’s portrayal of Christ – it’s predictable and expected. What shocks me is the Bible’s portrayal of the people within the Bible. When I’m least expecting it, along comes some startling revelation. Consider Abraham, the father of the faith and the example of trust in God. Romans 4:18-21 describes Abraham as believing without wavering, a man who did not weaken in faith, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.
But when I read Genesis, I read about a man who believes and doubts. After God promises Abraham many descendants and he believes, Abraham questions God about promised real estate: “How am I to know that I shall possess it?” (Gen. 15:5-8). Similarly, God promises that Sarah will have a son, but Abraham pleads, “Oh that Ishmael might be acceptable before you!” (Gen. 17:18, CSB).
The Bible is brutally honest about the imperfect faith and the flaws of God’s people. There is only one hero in the Bible, and Abraham isn’t it. The hero is the Lord Jesus Christ, who takes imperfect faith and perfects it (Heb. 10:14). He takes not only our sin, but our imperfect record upon himself, and by dying bears the blame. But in being raised to life, God affirms the perfect work of his righteous Son and extends the benefits of Christ’s work to those who will rely upon Christ.
We are told that when Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness, this statement was made for our benefit (Rom. 4:23). Those who have faith have been justified, and the work of Jesus has been applied to us by his resurrection. In other words, Jesus’ resurrection is for imperfect people like you and me. It’s for doubters, for the wavering, for those not fully convinced. The Bible is filled with the accounts of imperfect people like Abraham, David, and Peter so that we would be encouraged. God accepts their imperfect faith. And he accepts yours and mine as well. Why? Because we trust in Jesus’ perfect cross-work, marked with resurrection approval (Rom. 4:25).
The great miracle of the Bible continues to this day. Dead people are made alive. Resurrections still happen. People dead in trespasses and sins are made alive together with Christ by grace through faith (Eph 2:1-9)! Whether there is great or little faith, whether there is strength of conviction or wavering hope, we are saved by the reliable and strong Saviour.
When you see your imperfections, flaws, and sins, let these things cause you to flee to the cross again. Let your shortcomings take you to the Hill of the Skull and see the bloodstained tree by the nail-pierced hands and feet of the carpenter from Nazareth who takes your weak, faltering, needing-convincing faith and reminds you of the declaration of heaven that says, “Well done!” (Matt. 25:23). There is a justifying word in the resurrection. It is not your word of approval. It is the Word of heaven that welcomes those relying on this good work. And that is the most miraculous news in the universe!
As we gather for Sunday worship, we want you to meet with God and be transformed by the Word. Prepare your heart by reading the passage and listening to the songs for Sunday.