A couple weeks ago my dog had to undergo minor surgery to have her teeth cleaned. The vet had to put her under anesthesia to clean the plaque off her teeth and pull a few teeth that were infected. I know I KNOW–I sound like one of THOSE dog people. But seriously, my fear of being that stereotype is why I put off having her teeth cleaned until now. Up until now I kept thinking, “Uh, she’s a dog. Dogs in the wild don’t get their teeth cleaned. I think she’ll be fine.” Come to find out that small dogs have bad teeth because of their genetics and if left unattended they can get severe infections. My bad.
But anyways, she had the teeth cleaning, the anesthesia, the whole nine yards, and since then we’ve been treating her like a baby. During the first day or two she didn’t feel well at all so we gave her pain meds and antibiotics around the clock. The pain meds were a liquid, which made them easy to ingest, but the antibiotics come in pill form, which means we had to get creative about giving them to her.
Our solution? Pepperoni. We found that if we wrapped that tiny little pill in half a pepperoni, she would swallow it in a split second. I don’t even know how she could taste the pepperoni when she ate it that fast. But suffice it to say, the pepperoni did its job. It successfully doctored up the medicine so that she would take it, and get better.
What does any of this have to do with Easter and Resurrection? Well last week I saw that a colleague of mine, Jared Wilson, had posted the following thought on his facebook status:
“Jared wishes churches would stop treating the resurrection like it’s the medicine you put in a donut to trick the dog.”
Now I thought this was a sharp idea. But when I ran it by my Women’s Bible Study last week, it totally flopped. People were looking at my like “Whaaaat?” But after reflecting on it I think I realized the problem–people don’t wrap their dog’s medicine in donuts. People wrap their dog’s medicine in meat or cheese or something small the dog can easily swallow…like pepperonis!
So I thought I would try this illustration again, because I think it’s a good one! The basic idea is this–the medicine I gave my dog was an antibiotic, something that she needed if she was going to fight the infection in her mouth. But the medicine had to be dressed up and doctored before she would accept it. The fact that it would heal her was not enough for her to accept it.
While my dog has an excuse for this behavior since she’s a dog, we treat the Resurrection of Christ the same way. Whenever we share the Gospel with people, we either ignore the Resurrection part of the story, or we dress it up so that it’s flashier or more appealing…AS IF IT NEEDS IT! If there is any story in the Bible, any doctrine or belief in the entire Christian tradition that does NOT need dressing up, it’s the Resurrection. The Resurrection is the best news that we have! It is what makes the Gospel the Gospel. We have eternal life because Jesus was resurrected, and we need only have faith in Him for the same outcome.
We don’t need to fancy up the Resurrection. If you find yourself having trouble selling the Resurrection, then perhaps it’s because you haven’t truly reflected on it lately. If you spend some time pondering the perfect and world-transforming miracle that took place in the Resurrection, then you wouldn’t have to dress it up. Its goodness would be written across your face.
The Resurrection is not a spiritual medicine that makes us well but is hard to swallow. It is beautiful and glorious. Now that Easter is here, sit at your Father’s feet and bask in the good thing He has done for us! He is Risen!!!!!!!