Daily Devotion - Tuesday, March 29, 2016
I was reading the Resurrection story from the Gospel of Luke yesterday, and I noticed something I'd never seen before. It reads that the women who went to Jesus' tomb and found it empty returned to the apostles to tell them what they had discovered, and this is the response they got:
"But [the apostles] did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense."
I've been thinking about that line ever since, especially since I've been pondering a question I often ask myself this time of year. "Jesus is risen, now what?" Easter Sunday has come and gone, and we celebrated the Resurrection with great joy and energy. Now what? How do we live as people who have been set free because Jesus is risen?
Honestly, one of the first things I think we need to do is to fully embrace the miraculous and mysterious implications of the Resurrection as the life-transforming and world-altering event that it is. Which is easier said than done, as it turns out.
I think that most of us don't really want to open the hood and peer into it, if we're being honest. We're fine with vague references, preferring to focus on the holiday rather than dig deeper into what we're really saying when we say, "Jesus is risen."
It's not easy to put your arms around the Resurrection event. Even the eleven remaining disciples of Jesus couldn't do it at first, thinking that the words the women from the tomb were speaking to them were "like nonsense."
It didn't sink in at first that Jesus actually did what he said he would do. They were overwhelmed with the doubt that swirled in their heads in that moment as they all wondered, "Did this really happen? How is this possible?"
These troubling questions lurk behind all of our vague references, and efforts to avoid dealing with them as we celebrate the holiday of Easter without confronting the mind-blowing event it commemorates.
But what if we pushed aside our vague references, and stopped avoiding the questions? What if we actually acknowledged that the apostles were on to something: What they heard did sound like nonsense. Dead people don't come back to life. It just doesn't happen.
Which means that what the disciples experienced, what they eventually were willing to die for, had to have been so miraculous, so incredible that it shattered their doubt, changed their lives, and went from being "nonsense" to the centerpiece of their faith.
May you fully embrace the possibility of the impossible being made possible in the Resurrection of Jesus. May you find room in your mind and heart for the miraculous and mysterious power of God to make all things new, and to raise what was dead to new life. And may the grace and peace of the risen and living Christ be with you now and always. Amen.