Eastertide – Just the Facts is never enough!

MAY 17, 2020

Ever find yourself equipped with the facts and think you were good to go? Reality check, facts are never enough! 

Think about performing CPR…I sure wouldn’t want someone using CPR on me if they knew nothing beyond the facts. Hands-on instruction is needed in order to know how to revive a person without crushing their ribs, yet also effectively apply the maneuver firmly enough to bring them back to life! 

It isn’t always enough to just know something intellectually –  we need to apply what we’ve learned – to live into our knowledge, guided by mentors who can take us deeper into the nuances of those facts as the facts become a part of us– and when called to action – we are ready to respond and make a difference! 

And all of this is risky!  Just the facts is never enough!

Moving beyond mere appropriation of facts into deeper understanding and application not only increases our wisdom and understanding, but it pushes us beyond our comfort zones. And that’s where the risk comes in. We are no longer content to see facts through the filter of our own perspectives, cultures, and needs but rather begin exploring not only our own untapped potential but also the potential of the world around us.  

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It’s been 35 days since Easter Sunday. Sometimes we forget that we are still in the Easter season. This period of time, Eastertide, is when the risen Christ walked among the believers: mentoring them into the reality of Who He is; answering any questions they might have about exactly what happened to Him and what it means; preparing them for the actions they were to take going forward, though they don’t know it yet! Facts, facts and more facts – but still it’s not enough! There is more to Christ than the fact of His resurrection – even though that fact is the basis for all that is to come!

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When I was thinking about these things, I thought about the reading from Luke 24:13-35.  For the two disciples in the reading, Cleopas and his unnamed friend, all the facts they had about Jesus were just not enough to keep them from going home the very morning of the resurrection.

Even meeting the Stranger on the road Who gave them more information about all that had occurred changed nothing.  The two disciples just considered it to be a pleasant walk with a very informed individual!  

In fact, nothing changed until the Stranger acted, by blessing and breaking the bread as He shared a meal with the two, and the ‘Last Supper’ came to mind. Only then, did the facts come to life. The result? The two disciples were spurred to action! They returned to Jerusalem and shared their facts with the others disciples – who had their own facts to share!

But even with all of this – the facts weren’t enough!

The disciples were still inside the box of their own limited understanding. How do I know? When Christ appeared – and they all thought He was a ghost! It would take 40 days of divine mentoring before they were willing to let Christ out of the box of their human understanding and worship Him as God. 

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Which brings me to a secular response to those same facts by a first century Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, (37-c100). Josephus is respected even today for his works on the history of the Jewish nation.   In his volume, Antiquities of the Jews,  written for a non-Jewish audience, Josephus wrote an entire paragraph about Jesus. The unfortunate thing is, Josephus has the facts about Christ but not the mentoring that would take him deeper.  

The man was born 4 years after Christ’s resurrection. His works were composed while some of the first disciples were still alive. 

I feel sorry for Josephus.  He dealt in facts without digging deeper!   Just facts are never enough! Consequently, he missed the opportunity to know the Lord that we love – the Lord that his own scriptures prophesied.  

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So what are the facts – according to both sacred and secular text?

  • Jesus of Nazareth lived in first century Israel
  • Jesus was acknowledged as a prophet and miracle worker by those beyond His followers
  • Jesus was crucified by the Roman authorities
  • Jesus Christ rose from the dead
  • The risen Christ was seen by his followers for 40 following His resurrection.

These are facts – but is that enough?  What are the implications of these facts?  

I hope you will go the In the Stillness to hear Paul’s words. But until then, consider this: 

  • the resurrection of Christ proves that He is more than a prophet and miracle worker – one who offered wisdom like so many other prophets and miracle workers in the past.  Christ’s resurrection proves His divinity!
  • Christ’s divinity gives Him the authority to be called Lord of our lives
  • His teachings are therefore not suggestions for us to consider, but rather commandments for us to follow!
  • Those commandments are:
    • Love God absolutely (heart, soul, mind, and strength)
    • Love ALL others unconditionally 
    • Such love requires that we live life forgiven and forgiving!

And this is where facts lead us into risky territory! 

If Christ is Lord, we have no choice but to love and forgive our enemies, that we not just tolerate but embrace the outcast as one of us, that we heal the broken, and sometimes, the hardest thing of all, that we love God completely by putting God first in all things – all things!  The risk is that we are no longer in charge of ourselves – God in Christ is – and sometimes, that doesn’t always work out according to what we believe to be in our best interests….but if we live the Christ life I promise that God’s best interests will always be served!

Knowing the facts are not enough – we must live into what we know to be true!    To practice the truth found in the facts – If we are willing to do this  – we will be changed – as will the world around us.  Knowing the facts is not enough – we must live them!

Oh, and – who’s to mentor us?  We’ll get to that in a couple of weeks…..

And to God be the glory!

Published by Pastor Catharine

Retired ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I have a Master's of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry (with an emphasis on Spiritual Transformation of Community) from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

One thought on “Eastertide – Just the Facts is never enough!

  1. So true, the facts are rarely if ever enough! Knowing the facts but failing to act on them makes them of little value other than excelling at a game of Trivial Pursuit. A new physician knows many facts, but it is only through years of additional study, mentorship, and practice that those facts can be applied to help change lives effectively. And, like Peter, who knew the “facts” that there was no fish to be caught, without faith, knowing the facts and stopping there can lead to missed opportunities. Thank you for being a mentor to so many and furthering our journeys to move beyond the facts.

    Like

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