Easter sets the tone for all of humanity.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen!’” Luke 24:1-6
Why do you seek the living among the dead?
Imagine yourself as Mary. One of Jesus’ best friends. Forgiven BIG TIME. Deeply grieving the loss of a dear, dear loved one. As Eve mentioned in her Saturday post, the day before Sunday was Sabbath, and Mary was obedient in the rest that was asked of her. This was the first day Mary was allowed to go mourn for her Lord face to face. I imagine she had spent the day before immobile… unable to move, function, speak… wondering how long before the promised King saves?
Imagine the utter shock she felt when she arrived to see an empty tomb. Picture her wonderment when she is asked why she seeks the living among the dead? How can this be?
What startles me most are the words the angel speaks to her after his pronouncement of Jesus’ resurrection:
“Remember how he told you, while He was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise?” Luke 24:7
The resurrection should not have come as a surprise to anyone who followed Jesus. They were TOLD of this plan. They were let in on the secret of saving the world. And yet, it wasn’t until they were reminded that they remembered. Time and time again, strung throughout the Old Testament and the very words of Jesus, His followers were promised that Jesus would defeat death. But they had forgotten. They had forgotten that the plan was to save the entire world, and not just Israel. They had forgotten that Jesus was sent to put death in its grave. They had forgotten that, when all hope felt lost, it was actually bursting from every deep and dark place inside of that cold grave.
And when Jesus saw his beloveds again, he spoke to them “Peace be with you!” and all was changed. The cross had had given them (us) a way to the fullness of Him. He had given them the keys to hope that was held only within his Spirit.
And yet, like the disciples, we often forget. We are PROMISED that there will be a new heaven and that the earth as we know it will be passed away (Revelation 21:1). We are assured that “The dwelling place of God is with man. And that He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4 We are given hope beyond hope that these words were true, because Christ made them true when he fulfilled His promise to come away from the grave alive and whole.
The man, whose sandals I am unfit to tie, is the man who saw you and I, the most unworthy, as worthy of the promise of forever life. The man who is Ruler of everything died for you and I, who deserve nothing. The One who defeated the very thing that fears us most. The One who took our shame, and sorrow, hopelessness, ugliness, filth and regret, and placed it upon His own back. The One who rose triumphantly again, putting all of sin in its rightful place. The majestic One who, in all His glory, now stands in victory: both over our sin, and the weight of sin’s shadow that has been cast upon us, just by living in a broken world.
The woman weeping over her stillborn child, cradled in her arms.
The daughter caring for her mother who has forgotten her own name.
The child shaking his father, trying to awake him from a drunken haze.
It was not a suggestion to say that all will be made new. It was not simply a nice idea to offer every tear to be wiped from our eyes. It was a promise. May we remember that, on the cross, Christ proved to us that He never breaks His word.
My sin (our sin), scarlet red, draped upon his back, his shoulders, his hands, his feet. My sin (OUR sin), scarlet red, nailed into his wrists, his feet, piercing His side. My sin (our sin), scarlet red, washed white, bright white, by all glory of the King of Kings.
Death began to work backwards deep in the earth inside of that tomb. And because of His love, death now gives way to life, and life is springing forward from the grave. The scandal. The glory. The grace. The sacrifice. The love. Oh, the Love!