Going Deeper 4-19-19

The Gospel reading for Easter...
uke 24:1-12   But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.  While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.  The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen.  Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again."  Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.  Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.  But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.  But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

The story of the resurrection seemed to be beyond belief for the disciples.  We shouldn't be surprised.  Three times Jesus had told them what was going to happen once they reached Jerusalem-- "Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again"-- but when it all unfolds just as he told them it catches them totally by surprise.

We might find ourselves surprised by their being surprised, by their lack of understanding or belief.  But this demonstrates just how powerful their paradigm of what the Messiah would do when he arrived truly was.  They just couldn't wrap their minds around the suffering, death and resurrection idea.  The Messiah was to come and defeat (perhaps destroy) their enemies, not be defeated and destroyed by their enemies.  So they thought, and thus they were surprised.

The resurrection of the crucified Jesus, the Christ/Messiah, is the most important surprise of all history.  It still is news that some refuse to believe.  Most people do believe that there was a man named Jesus who lived and died, but do not believe resurrection from the dead to be possible.  Yet for those of us who do believe, this is the most important truth of all.  In the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have received the greatest of all gifts: forgiveness and life. 

This is a gift that keeps on giving.  This gift of amazing grace changes everything... including us.  This truth brings the added gifts of peace, joy, and meaning to our lives.  I hope and pray that you will have a wonder-filled Good Friday and Easter experience!!

With You in His Grace,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."