“If” is a big word in the English language. Should you look this word up (as I just did) you will discover “if” has to do with possibilities, opportunities and the consequences that come when those opportunities are either taken or missed.
In our daily conversations we use this word to refer to how the moments in our lives would have taken us different places, or events would have led to different results had another course of action been taken, or if taken, been successful. “If only I had gotten here earlier.” “If only I had known.” “If only I had caught the ball our team would have won.”
The word looms large in our everyday language. Many deal with the regret of “ifs” that were not fulfilled. Our entire life, we think, would have been different “if. . .” The word is never larger than when we use it to think about the resurrection of Jesus. Now, the more you study the resurrection, the more you are driven to the reality that what we are dealing with is the greatest mystery of our faith. No one was there when Jesus was raised from the dead. And who could blame them? No one in their right mind ever expected to see Jesus alive again. But now. . .women are coming back from the garden tomb telling stories of seeing Jesus alive. Soon Simon Peter, Thomas and all of the other disciples would be telling the same story. Jesus is alive. We have seen Him. Now, IF that is true…if Jesus is alive…then everything changes. EVERYTHING CHANGES!
Who we understand Jesus to be; who we understand ourselves to be; what we think about death and life and sin and forgiveness. . .all of that changes IF Jesus is alive. IF He is not, well, then nothing at all has changed and we are still stuck in a dead end world. But we believe Jesus has been raised from the dead. That is our message. This is our hope. We believe that the IF of the resurrection has bloomed into the reality of the Risen Christ. Everything has changed. Everything can still change – even us. Even our world. . .that is the IF of our message. And this divine IF opens the way to an eternity of possibilities and hope.