The words “Jesus Lives” seem straight-forward enough. When I write them and say them, I mean that I believe that the baby born in Bethlehem who became the preacher crucified on a cross, who was dead and buried, came back to life and remains alive and shall live forever. Others might mean something else, such as that “Jesus lives” on in the pages of the Bible, Jesus lives in those who, reading the Bible, try to follow his example. Yet when it comes to the crucified Jesus, these others seem to think that Jesus stayed dead and that only his memory and his example live on. Some who believe that Jesus is in heaven might think of him as some kind of ghost — not the Holy Spirit, but the kind of ghost that Hollywood makes spooky movies about, a mere mental shadow of a person now dead.
When an evangelical Christian talks about the need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, this means much more than following the example of a dead hero. No one has a “personal relationship” with George Washington today or Martin Luther King, Jr. even if some are inspired by their examples. We mean, and I mean, that Jesus is really and truly alive. He is not alive as a specter either, a mere wispy ghost to haunt heaven. Jesus is not only as alive as you who are reading this, but more alive, with a more substantial existence that include our dimensions of experience as well as higher dimensions.
We teach at the Evangelical Covenant Church of Elgin what Christians have taught and believed these 2000 years, which is that the incarnation of God in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, his life, suffering and death, and his bodily resurrection into eternal, glorified, higher life, are facts of history. They are not myths, they are not allegories, they are not memories of a dead person: They are NEWS, good news to ever generation, to all who receive in faith that this is true and long to join Jesus Christ for eternal life.