Weather Alert:

Church programs for Monday, Jan. 22 will resume their normal schedule at all locations this evening.

Programming Note:

Leawood’s Sunday night in-person worship has been moved to 4 pm for Sunday, February 11. 

Close this search box.

How faith in resurrection grew

November 3, 2023

Daily Scripture

Daniel 12:2, 2 Maccabees 7:9, Acts 23:6-8

Daniel 12
2 Many of those who sleep in the dusty land [or dust of the earth] will wake up—some to eternal life, others to shame and eternal disgrace.

2 Maccabees 7
(showing how a Hebrew martyr about 150 years before Christ counted on the resurrection)
9 With his last breath he said, “You, who are marked out for vengeance, may take our present life, but the king of the universe for whose laws we die will resurrect us again to eternal life.”

Acts 23
6 Knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, Paul exclaimed in the council, “Brothers, I’m a Pharisee and a descendant of Pharisees. I am on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead!”
7 These words aroused a dispute between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 This is because Sadducees say that there’s no resurrection, angel, or spirit, but Pharisees affirm them all.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

The earlier Hebrew Scriptures did not mention the idea of resurrection. That was why the Sadducees said “there’s no resurrection.” Even before he met the risen Jesus, the young Saul (a Pharisee, who became the apostle Paul) believed in resurrection (based on later texts like Daniel 12:1-3 and Isaiah 26:19). Scholar Craig Keener wrote that as a Christian Paul was “a ‘Pharisee plus,’ who taught that Jesus had already inaugurated the resurrection.” * Jesus made Paul’s faith event based, not just a theory or a wish.

  • Paul’s appeal to the common ground he shared with the Pharisees put them in an awkward spot. They agreed with him in principle (unlike the Sadducees) that there would be a resurrection from the dead. But they very much did not want to agree with Paul that Jesus had in fact risen from the dead. In what ways does the risen Jesus make an otherwise abstract idea real for you?
  • Keener found that by Paul’s day, “The hope of the resurrection was central to Judaism, and many martyrs had died staking their hope on it…. Pharisees taught that Sadducees had no part in the world to come, because they did not believe in life after death.” ** Divisions like that made it hard to share even points they might agree on. Does that cast light on why Resurrection has people join by reciting the Apostles’ Creed, a “common ground” Christian statement, while leaving room for difference on other points?

Dear Jesus, every Easter we join early Christians in exclaiming, “He is risen indeed!” And as our pastor always says, I not only believe that, but I’m counting on it. Thank you for hope I can count on at life’s saddest moments. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook

Lauren Cook is the Entry Points Program Director at Resurrection, a self-proclaimed foodie, a bookworm, and is always planning her next trip. She has the sweetest (and sassiest) daughter, Carolina Rae, a rockstar husband, Austin, and a cutie pup named Thunder. She loves connecting with others so let her know the best place you've ever eaten, best book you've ever read, or best place you've ever been!

I turn 30 years old on Monday. I’ve had some feelings about it lately. First, feelings of panic because I have definitely not done enough or been enough or excelled at enough things to be 30 yet, and that’s obviously what it’s all about. Then, some feelings of fear because what is coming for me? My 20’s were pretty hard so 30’s must be harder. Next came feelings of melancholy at all that took place in the past decade and for all the versions of Lauren that have existed, that have lived and died as new Lauren’s came about. Then a hard left back to panic because who even am I?

My twenties included graduating college, getting married, moving not once but seven times, battles with eating disorders and infertility, the miraculous gift of my baby girl, running marathons, traveling to five countries, climbing a lot of mountains, a few job changes, a lot of new friendships, and significant loss. More than one dream came true, more than one dream died, and more than one dream came alive.

I think we have all had seasons in life where we have felt a little (or a lot) bit lost, where we’re balancing really good and really hard things, where a dream has died, and maybe we’ve found ourselves asking hard questions like, “My life doesn’t look anything like I wanted it to. What am I supposed to do now?” or, in the words of Scott Erickson, “My life doesn’t look anything like I wanted it to. How do I even keep going?” A dear, dear friend of mine invited me to Scott Erickson’s show “Say Yes” this past year, right as I had been asking such questions. Erickson’s show (and book) points to our darkest moments and how they can be doorways to an even deeper and more joy-filled journey as we use them to recover who we are, why we’re here and what the future can hold. I think the resurrection is like that.

Because of the resurrection, our future is bright, full stop, period. Our future is eternal life with Jesus. Because I believe in the resurrection (which yes, can be hard to believe) I can find hope and I can define myself around that hope. I can remember who I am (a child of God), why I’m here (to make this world look more like the Kingdom of God), and what the future holds (eternal life with Jesus). I can remind you of who you are (a child a God), why you’re here (to make this world look more like the Kingdom of God), and what your future holds (eternal life with Jesus).

I think I’ll probably still feel a little lost from time to time in my 30’s, and there will be some valleys and dark spots along the way, but I’m also so excited to enter them because I know I’m on my way. I know who I am and whose I am, and armed with that knowledge and the courage to face whatever comes with that core identity in mind, I am on my way with a really bright future ahead. (P.S.: No matter what decade you’re in, you’re on your way, too—and good job, you!)

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Comment on Acts 23:6 in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.
** Comment on Acts 23:7 in The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993.