Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no way to make contact with Jesus. He’s dead! He lived for about thirty-three years and has been dead for 2,000. He is not only dead He has perished (1 Corinthians 15:18). There is no one to make contact with!
He has to be alive if we are to be able to make contact with Him.
“Yes, but even if He is alive we can’t make contact with Him—we can’t physically feel or see or hear Him.”
That’s true enough.
“So we only know He is alive because we hear stories or reports about Him.”
That’s true enough, but if the reports and stories about Him and messages from Him are true and real would that not be contact?
“Well, it wouldn’t be personal contact with Him.”
Why not? If your friend that you haven’t seen in years sent you a letter would that not be personal contact?
In a case like that we aren’t making contact with the letter. The letter is the means by which the person is making contact with a person. That’s personal contact, is it not?
“But it’s not the same as a face to face physical contact.”
True, but neither is a phone call or a letter though they are the ways and means of genuine personal contact. When people write to one another there is a genuine “meeting of minds.” It isn’t letters that meet one another. The letters aren’t merely letters, they are one person making contact with another; two people are meeting and that is making contact. The thoughts of one enter into the other.
If the letter is insulting the reader isn’t angry with the letter but with the writer, the person. If it is praise or encouragement the reader isn’t pleased with the paper and writing but with the living person that wrote them. We’re not to deny that actual persons make contact with one another and inspire and empower one another or discourage and weaken one another. The contact is real though it isn’t the physically face to face kind.
But we have no right in the face of life itself, the kind of life we all experience day by day, to reduce the word contact to a physical hearing, seeing or feeling experience. Through a message a real person makes contact with a real person as surely as if they had made a physical face to face meeting. We mustn’t dismiss this truth.
Daily life confirms what Paul says in Romans 10:14-17 that people can’t trustingly call on the Lord for help if they have never heard of Him. Faith comes by hearing the gospel (10:17). If there is no one writing the letter or making the call there is no letter or call, there is no contact and there is no meeting of minds. There can be no reaction to a letter that was never written. We can easily imagine someone back in the first century saying, “I never met Jesus face to face but I got a lovely letter from Him.” If that had happened it would have been Jesus who made contact with that person.
We don’t need to imagine Peter saying this to Jewish Christians about Jesus because he actually said it: “…whom not having seen you love. Though now you see Him not, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory…” and of whom the prophets spoke things “reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you…” (1 Peter 1:8, 12).
They had never physically met Jesus but though the gospel reported to them in preaching they met Jesus; not just talk about Jesus. Through these prophets and NT preachers, Jesus made Himself known. They made contact with Jesus Himself in the truth told about Him. It changes nothing that they or we meet Jesus through persons He commissioned to spread the truth about Him. In equipping them and sending them He makes Himself present in and to them and us.
(This has profound ramifications for those who are called to proclaim Him.)
In Ephesians 2:17 Paul said Jesus preached to Gentiles as well as Jews though it was through His messengers He did it. In Acts people are healed “in the name of” Christ but in 9:34 Peter flatly says, “Jesus Christ healed you.” The power behind the preaching or the healing or the saving is a living Person doing it through gospelers. Jesus saves, God saves through the proclamation of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18-24 and it is the proclaimed Lord Jesus who is to us wisdom, righteousness, redemption and sanctification (1:30).
But if there is no resurrected and immortal Jesus of Nazareth—if He is dead—we have nothing to preach or believe (1 Corinthians 15:13). The power of the Lord Himself is invested in His words (John 6:63). It is Him—He enters by the words He sends to us through servants (Colossians 3:16; James 1;18; 1 Peter 1;23; John 8:32; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Acts 20:32). It isn’t just the words, it is GOD who makes Himself present, to be rejected or accepted. We don’t just reject words if we reject God—we reject GOD. Read carefully 1 Thessalonians 2:13. It isn’t the words that are speaking; it is GOD speaking the words through gospelers.
There are those who believe that Jesus died 2 thousand years ago and has perished. There is no one to contact; there is no one to contact us. It was just that he was so morally fine, so compassionate and unselfish that those who came to know him couldn’t let his memory die and Christianity was born. The worship of a long and forever dead young man began. Contact can be made with memories and stories but the crucifixion ended him! That will do for some.
All who admire and find the long dead Jesus inspirational must on their own view end up like the Jesus they admire—they everlastingly perish and so does the entire human race if Jesus is dead.
“But now is Christ risen!”