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Am I Resurrected Yet? Can I See Clearly Yet?

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Am I Resurrected Yet? Can I See Clearly Yet?

Commentary by Walter Hesford | FāVS News

“Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed” This we proclaim every Easter in my church. And, since Christ is risen, we, too, followers of Christ Jesus, should rise anew to keep alive his gospel, to pray that the kingdom of his Father come now and act in a way that it may come indeed among us.

Many Christians believe that we must wait until after death and until a future end times to realize fully a resurrection. But some, including me, believe that the end times are always already with us, and that we are called to live a resurrected life now.

The theological term for this view is “realized eschatology,” eschatology being the study of end times. Biblical scholars, such as C.H. Dodd, hold that this view is promoted throughout the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of John. (For a simple description of realized eschatology, see the Wikipedia entry on it. For a scholarly online discussion, see “Eschatology in John’s Gospel” by W. Robert Cook.)

My brother, a Lutheran pastor, tells me that we can see the promise of realized eschatology in John Chapter 21, when the resurrected Jesus “says that we if we love him, we are to follow him. We are to love one another. We are to look at each other with resurrected eyes, seeing the promise of new beginnings realized before us now and filled with the certain hope of new beginnings in ages to come. So it is that we experience the real presence of peace and joy. The abundance of life.”

Preferring the Stillness of the Tomb than the Fanfare of Easter

Though I am convinced by the tenants of realized eschatology, in truth I have a hard time accepting the joy and responsibility that comes with Easter’s resurrection event. Even as a kid, I was more comfortable in the stillness of the Saturday before Easter while Jesus was still buried than with Easter morning, with all its fanfare and parade of new clothes, not to mention chocolate bunnies and dyed eggs.

If Jesus was still buried, so I could be also. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40 KJV). How comfortable, I thought, to remain in the whale’s belly or in the heart of the earth, without cares or obligations. This doubtless reflects my passive, introverted personality, my melancholic streak.

Coming out of the whale’s belly, out of the heart of the earth, necessitates our opening ourselves up to God’s grace and our living according to the gospel, living awakened to the concerns of all our neighbors.

To be awakened these days is to be “woke,” to use a much-maligned term, but one rooted in the Black community’s call to be ever vigilant lest injustices prevail.

Needing to See Another’s Humanity

To be vigilant one must see clearly each other’s humanity, but I’m afraid I’m like the blind man in the Gospel of Mark after Jesus places some spit in his eyes with his hands. When Jesus asks him if he can now see anything, “he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking” (Mark 8:23-24 KJV). Like the blind man at this point, I tend not to comprehend the reality of other people, to see the image of God in them.

Jesus does not want the blind man to be stuck in this condition. Jesus “put his hands again on his eyes and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly” (Mark 8:25 KJV).

I assume that Jesus does not want me to be stuck either, but rather to go forward with resurrected eyes prepared to face others with a full recognition of their humanity and thus of their concerns and needs. But I am not.

No, I am not fully resurrected. No, I don’t see clearly enough.


The views expressed in this opinion column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FāVS News. FāVS News values diverse perspectives and thoughtful analysis on matters of faith and spirituality.

Walter Hesford
Walter Hesford
Walter Hesford, born and educated in New England, gradually made his way West. For many years he was a professor of English at the University of Idaho, save for stints teaching in China and France. At Idaho, he taught American Literature, World Literature and the Bible as Literature. He currently coordinates an interfaith discussion group and is a member of the Latah County Human Rights Task Force and Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Moscow. He and his wife Elinor enjoy visiting with family and friends and hunting for wild flowers.

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