Resurrection, then and now

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Initially, Jesus' resurrection generated more questions than answers. How had the stone been rolled away from the grave? And where was Jesus' body? According to Chapter 24 of Luke's gospel, the women who first discovered all of this were "much perplexed."

Another of the day's mysteries included a trip to Emmaus, during which two of Jesus' disciples failed to recognize their Master. Cleopas and a friend walked for miles with Jesus, and talked with him, but "their eyes were holden that they should not know him." In short, they were so certain the only possible outcome of crucifixion was death that they never dreamed Jesus himself might be there beside them.

It took quite a while for them to catch on, in spite of the hints Jesus gave them. For example, "Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." But they still didn't recognize Jesus.

Eventually, though, when Jesus "took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them," Cleopas and his friend finally figured out who the man was. This familiar practice, which Jesus had done when he fed the multitude in the desert and nourished the disciples at the last supper, roused them, and "their eyes were opened, and they knew him."

Once Jesus' identity was clear to them, it sounds as though Cleopas and his buddy could have kicked themselves for taking so long to recognize him. Luke explains, "They said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us ... while he opened to us the scriptures?"

We've all had moments of being a Cleopas, stuck in a hopelessly limited and limiting view of what's possible. But we don't have to stay there. Jesus proved with his resurrection that negative outcomes which seem certain are not inevitable. Christ eliminates the inevitability of evil.

In her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," the Monitor's founder, Mary Baker Eddy, explained Christ as "the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (p. 332). She also described resurrection, in part, as "spiritualization of thought" and "material belief yielding to spiritual understanding" (p. 593). The same Christ, or "divine message," that ministered to Jesus in the grave, enabling his resurrection, ministers to us today, enabling our resurrection.

Our moments of resurrection may not be as dramatic as Jesus', but they're backed by the same Christ-power. No matter how buried in sickness, sin, or sorrow we may feel, we can experience the Christ-impelled "spiritualization of thought" that causes "material belief [to yield] to spiritual understanding." When, through prayer, we heal sickness, stop the downward spiral of a bad mood, end the escalation of tension during an argument, avert an accident, or forsake sinful behavior, we experience resurrection and share, to some degree, the disciples' awakening to the presence of the Christ.

Mrs. Eddy said that Jesus' "resurrection was also [the disciples'] resurrection. It helped them to raise themselves and others from spiritual dulness and blind belief in God into the perception of infinite possibilities" (p. 34).

We, too, can perceive God's "infinite possibilities." We're not stuck with matter's narrow script. Rather than assume that destructive patterns inevitably repeat themselves or that illnesses must go through predictable stages, we can recognize our own and others' unlimited ability to reflect divine power. And we can demand progress, insisting that Christ, the divine influence, be evidenced in our experience. In short, we can expect – and experience – resurrection.

On their walk to Emmaus, the disciples felt their "heart burn within" as Jesus spoke to them. Today, the Christ – God's "divine message" – still makes hearts "burn within," stirring people everywhere to resurrection.

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