We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


Resurrections: Celebration or another Crucifixion?

It was a year ago, the day before Easter when I drove to western NY to visit my mom. When I arrived, I knew immediately that something wasn’t right. I had never seen my mom so sick. She wasn’t even able to carry on a conversation, though she came downstairs to sit at the kitchen table with me.

Excusing herself, she said that she needed to go to bed and would hopefully feel better in the morning. If you knew my mom, you would know that she would need to be on death’s doorstep to not be cooking when her children and grandchildren are home. So I waited. Mom slept through the night. But the next morning she was worse.

It was Easter and the choices for medical help were minimal, so off to the hospital we went. After the initial examination and a CT scan, the doctor came to me with a sense of urgency and said that they were life-flighting my mom to a major hospital. The scan revealed a catastrophic brain hemorrhage that was seriously life threatening. It was doubtful that mom would survive the day, or the flight. I so wanted to see her one last time, to tell her how much I loved her.

All day, not a doctor came to her room. Mom was sleeping or in a coma. The only comfort I had was that mom was going to see Jesus on Resurrection Day and would also see dad. It would appear that today would be goodbye until I would see her again on the other side.

To complicate matters, I was supposed to fly out the next day to speak at a large homeschool conference that started on Tuesday. Seeing that mom may remain in a coma for some time, I wondered whether I should fly out and speak and then return the following day. I shared this with my family and unanimously, this was not looked upon favorably. Was I placing ministry above family again? My oldest son looked at me and said, “Dad, unless there’s a miracle, we need you here.” I smiled and agreed.

The doctor never showed up that evening so we decided to stay with mom through the night. The next day I missed my flight and mom was still sleeping; it would be the first speaking engagement I would miss in thirty-five years. It wasn’t until 9pm when the doctor final stepped into the room. We all stood around mom’s bedside listening intently to the brain surgeon. What he would say next would take our breath away. He looked at each of us solemnly and said, “Your mom has experienced what we call in medical terms, a miraculous intervention!” We were in shock. He continued, “We will be releasing your mom and though she will be very tired for some time, she should recover completely.”

I am writing this moment one year later. As I sit here writing, I can hear mom’s voice in the background as she stands cooking at the stove. Chicken soup for this evening and stuffed chicken for tomorrow, all in the making. Grandchildren, children and loved ones will be enjoying another Resurrection Day at Nonny’s house. Yes, my mom experienced a genuine miracle.

Oh, the homeschool conference? I received a phone call from the airline telling me that my Monday flight had been canceled and they were rebooking my flight for
6 am the next morning. I arrived at the conference 15 minutes before I was to speak. The miracle had arrived-just in time. But it wasn’t time for a celebration. It was time for a greater dedication to Christ.

Resurrections aren’t as much about celebrations as they are about a greater commitment to Christ. When Peter met Jesus after his resurrection, there wasn’t any celebration. In fact, I don’t see any celebration mentioned in the Bible after the resurrection. You would have thought that they would have been having celebrations everywhere.

The resurrection of Jesus was more about recommitment. It was about dealing with sin and issues of the heart. In fact, when Jesus sees Peter after the resurrection, he questioned if he really loved him…not just once, but three times. Once Jesus knows that Peter’s commitment gives no further room for denial, he then tells him how he is going to die. In John 21 Jesus tells Peter that others are going to lead him and stretch his arms. This appears to be a reference to Peter’s eventual crucifixion. Peter, then asks Jesus about John’s future. Jesus responds by saying, “If he lives until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.” Post resurrection Jesus is dealing with heart issues and not speaking in parables. He is approaching his children like a surgeon. He wants us to understand that there is a cost to following him.

Traditionally we read that Peter was crucified upside down. He felt that he wasn’t worthy to be crucified the same as his Savior. But before he was crucified, Clemens writes that he first had to witness his wife’s crucifixion.[1] I am thankful for the resurrection, but it is not a time for celebration as much as it is a time for self-evaluation and rededication to our commitment to follow Christ, no matter what the cost.

[1] Barnes, Albert. “Commentary on John 21”. “Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament”.

Published in: on April 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm  Leave a Comment