Anastasis (not to be confused with Anastasia) is the Greek word for resurrection. We just celebrated the Anastasis of Jesus. We call it Easter (which is not a biblical term, by the way).
We understand Easter to be the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. However, I fear that the significance of the event gets lost as we focus on Good Friday and what Jesus did for us on the cross. Outside of the Easter season, we don’t talk much about the resurrection, but rather focus primarily on the Cross. Why the Cross? I’m guessing because of its implications related to our eternal destiny, that is, heaven. It’s the perspective that I had communicated for years. And I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one with that perspective…
The reality of the ubiquitousness of such a perspective was evidenced several years ago when I asked a group of young people (college-age) what Easter was about. The consensus: Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. “And?” was my follow-up questions, assuming the answer would be, “And then he was resurrected.” Instead, the automatic and almost unison response was, “And now we get to go to heaven.”
Looking back, this perspective of Easter was the lens through which I viewed Jesus, read scripture, did ministry, etc., for a big chunk of my life. In more recent years (understand that “more recent” for me is the past 15-20 years!), I began to see things differently, through a new lens – the lens of Jesus’ resurrection, the anastasis. It was a huge shift for me!
How huge? It changed everything! The lens through which we see life affects how we see God, ourselves, and the world around us. Some refer to this as our worldview. How important is our worldview? Think of how life must have changed for Copernicus once the thought occurred to him that maybe, just maybe, the universe didn’t revolve around the earth.
If we are honest, when our view of Easter-time is more focused on the Cross than the Resurrection, the universe sort of revolves around us. (As I type this, I realize that I can’t possibly have a worldview if I’m the focus, can I?) Actually, it doesn’t sort of revolve around us, it mostly revolves around us. Thus the response, “And now we get to go to heaven.”
When Jesus was resurrected, he didn’t tell his followers, “And now you get to go to heaven.” He communicated to them that as King, his subjects (followers) had a job to do:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (sounds like a King!). Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (sounds like he is giving them a job to do!).” Matthew 28:18-20
Before Jesus’ resurrection, his followers’ “worldview” was about themselves, personally and nationally. The resurrected savior and King changed all that for them! And for me!
Like Copernicus, once the thought occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, the universe didn’t revolve around my getting to heaven, my worldview changed, never to be the same again, for which I am eternally grateful!
5 thoughts on “Anastasis”
It is natural that we spend relatively more time pondering the cross. Our minds can understand death because we have seen others die. Moreover, history and science attest to the reality of a rabbi in Jerusalem being crucified. It takes no faith to believe that Jesus died at 3pm on the first Friday in April of 33 AD.
But the Gospel does not end there and the reader must entertain the same questions that those living in the first century. What happened April 3? History and science are of minimal help when we ponder the questions that surround that Sunday morning. Resurrection? Salvation? Kingdom? The answers to these questions require faith. Certainly a reasoned faith. Certainly a faith declared by the Old Testament. A faith backed by the Holy Spirit. A faith so real that Twelve men died proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel. None have spoken this Truth more clearly that Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3-5, “… that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to … over 500 people” in the days that followed.
In verse 2 Paul declares that, “By this Gospel you are saved!” Granted, Paul is not the only one that testifies to the Truth and we are encouraged to the read the witnesses of Jesus’ own words as recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Peter. Ultimately, each one of us must accept (reject) the Gospel based upon faith!
As always, thank you for sharing, Curt!
Good thoughts, Bruce. (I’m thinking you could download your comments and start your own blog 🙂)
I finally got around to reading this and, darned if it wasn’t what I’d been thinkin for a while. Easter is the resurrection, the first fruits, paving the way for us. Friday is the payment for Easter’s resurrection (almost said payment for the ride). Anyway, I’ve been trying to live in the fact that the resurrection means God is with us. He sent the Spirit and dwells with us. If you make it all the death you miss living. Here and now and forever. Curt, when you nd Barb got married it was a big day. But you’re still together (bless her soul). The marriage was important but the rest of the journey is the focus. (Not that I know about that). The Life is like that. Big event and then a huge event and we can walk together with the Lord. Another way to look at it is the day they replaced my knee was a big deal but now I try to live and move with it. I appreciate what was done and I’m clueless as to how it was done, but I walk on. That is like my focus on Jesus. He did something I don’t understand and He rose and walks with me.