Adrian Plass, an English Christian writer, tells the story of how he as a young person used to go along to a “café style” night church largely for the free food and coffee. He also enjoyed making Clive, the youth pastor squirm as Adrian bombarded him with question after question on a whole load of different topics such as the question of suffering, how predestination and freewill are incompatible and the credibility of the bible. Week after week poor Clive struggled to answer the questions before Adrian was able to find holes in his argument. One particular evening Adrian asked the classic Easter question … how can we know that Jesus did actually rise from the dead. As Clive tried to explain and Adrian debated back, Clive’s patience just ran out. “I just love him!” he blurted out, smacking his palm down on the formica-topped coffee bar. “I love him! That’s all – I just love Jesus!”
Adrian was taken aback. After all this intellectual talk, Clive had spoken from the heart. Adrian writing about the experience said, “I was impressed, even a little shaken. I could not understand the way that Clive was speaking … he was speaking about this Jesus with passion and emotion, as if he really knew him. For Clive, Jesus seemed to be more than just a person in a story, Jesus seemed personal”. This one experience made Adrian consider that there might be more to this Jesus thing that he first thought. It was the beginning of a journey that ultimately led to Adrian coming into a personal relationship with Jesus himself.
Final Group Conversation:
A friend genuinely asks you, “How do you know that Jesus is alive?” … what is your (short) answer?
We have been exploring a lot of questions, theories, confusings hypothesis and a lot of Bible passages (some of which say different things) about the death and resurrection of Jesus … but at the heart of the Easter story is the narrative of a God who loves us so much and wants to be in relationship with us that God did what it took to make that happen. Easter at its heart is personal. I pray that we might in the midst of the all the questions also see that Jesus is more than a bunch of interesting ideas, but that Jesus is alive and real and ready to connect with us. I pray that we might have that personal encounter that Clive and ultimately Adrian had, and met the risen Jesus ourselves.
Watch the following video as a reflection – Yet not I but through Christ in Me (version by Steve Koroknay)
God of Promise and God of Hope,
who through your great mercy have granted us new birth
through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
We thank and praise you that Jesus is alive!
May this declaration resound not only in these walls
but touch the lives of all we meet
and forever be the truth of which we speak.