He Is Risen
Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen.”
Often, my children and I sit around and tell the stories of our family. One child starts the story and another interrupts to fill in a detail, then another remembers something the first two forgot. Another kid remembers things happening in a different order. And another child never knew about one aspect of the story at all and learns something new as the tale is retold. As we laugh and interject and remember together, we finally get the full story out.
Isn’t that how it is with family stories? We each have our own perspective of how things happened or remember the stories in slightly different ways.
That’s how it is with each of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ Resurrection. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John each remember the story a little bit differently. One of them includes details the others leave out. Mark thought Mary went into the tomb before she got Peter and John, but John thought she got them first. Matthew tells about a great earthquake when the angels rolled back the stone, but the other disciples don’t mention that.
I love this. Each of their slightly different perspectives makes the story all the more believable to me. And though the details might vary, the main idea is the same: Jesus wasn’t in that tomb. He had risen from the dead!
The women got up early on the first day of the week and walked to the tomb. They were ready to embalm Jesus’ body. But the body wasn’t there! The stone was rolled away, and Jesus was gone.
Angels appeared and told Mary Magdalene and the other women that Jesus was raised from the dead. Then an angel said, “Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead.’”
In both Jewish and Roman law, a woman’s testimony wasn’t considered reliable. Women were thought to be weak and unstable, so they couldn’t be trusted to be honest witnesses. But of course Jesus, in his upside-down Kingdom, would make sure that women were the first witnesses of the Resurrection and the first to proclaim the Good News, the Gospel.
Just as in his life’s ministry, in his Resurrection, Jesus shakes up the religious and social order. Nobody is less-than or unworthy in Jesus’ Kingdom. Nobody is prohibited from being a reliable, trustworthy witness of the Good News. The Resurrection message is for everyone, so it can be told by everyone.
Jesus is alive. He died, but he overcame death and rose again. In Jesus, death is not final.
Is there something dead in your life that you are grieving? A dead relationship? A dead dream? A dead hope? Jesus can bring life. Jesus can breathe life into what’s dead. It may not look exactly as it did before (Jesus wasn’t recognized at first), but it can live again – better and fuller.
Are you mourning a physical death of someone you love? We have the hope of Resurrection, of seeing our loved ones again – because of Jesus’ Resurrection. This is Good News!
Death doesn’t get the last word. Because of Jesus, Life and Love get the final say.
Do not be afraid. Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but he is risen. Go quickly and tell – ‘He has been raised from the dead.’
You are a trustworthy witness – tell the Good News. Death isn’t final. Jesus is alive and he breathes life into us!
Happy Resurrection Day, my friends. I pray the Gospel, the Good News, breathes life into you today.