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Luke 24:1-12, Empty Tomb (Easter)

The Mystery of Resurrection

We have the luxury of centuries to know what happened next. But the women and the disciples could not have comprehended what would happen next. Imagine the horror of the events of three days prior, and now, what could be the icing on the cake of horror… the body is missing! Horror and fear, topped with shame. But…

This was not a story of shame – quite the opposite. The missing body was not grave robbers, but resurrection. Jesus was not dead, but alive! They had never conceived that such a thing could be possible. Even though Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, no one had ever raised themselves from the dead! What now? Fear and apprehension would be appropriate responses to this unexpected turn of events. How does one even begin to know where to go from here?

As humans, we are hard-wired to make sense of things. We have categories and labels for everything. We have science to explain the unexplainable. We have faith to hold those things that we cannot explain. This event gives us permission not to know, not to make sense of it all. We can sit uncomfortably in the mystery, even as we make sense of the rest of our lives in light of this mysterious event. This resurrection puts our whole lives in perspective. We are children of a living God. We may not know how Jesus lives, but we know that because he lives, we too, live. We may not understand how Jesus conquered sin and death, but we can shape our lives around the knowledge that sin and death do not win. What a mystery in itself, that we can ground ourselves completely on the one thing that is completely ungrounded – the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus!

Narrative Lectionary Text: Luke 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.