1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; he has risen!
What a strange story! Here we should be gathering to celebrate the anniversary of a martyr’s death and we’re met with this most strange story. Often it would be easier to explain if our faith depended on belief in the cause of a man who was willing to go to the cross for what he believed in. It might even be easier to explain if our faith depended on imitating such obedience for the causes we champion. We could bring our spices every year to mark the anniversary of Jesus’ death and then go back home for another year.
But here, Luke reminds us that God won’t let that happen. We can’t pass this off as just another ritual to observe among our collection of rituals that keep us feeling religious. Easter is not about being religious. This isn’t just some quaint story of how we can give all we have for a cause greater than we are. Luke shows us how God reminds us that just when we think a story has breathed its last (cf. Luke 23:46) new life miraculously happens. And all of our notions of causes and celebration are forever changed in light of such a miracle.
This is the difference between God and us. We would be more comfortable with Christ remaining in the tomb. This way we can act in such a way that comes natural to us. We commemorate a special day, remember a life, and that’s that. But, here on Easter, we’re met face-to-face with the strangest and most disorienting of realities-Christ rose from the dead! This changes everything we know about life. The impossible is now possible. The end is not really the end-it’s a beginning. There is victory over death as it’s been swallowed up in the most intrusive and glorious event of human history. God died and rose from the dead that we might truly live.
It’s the gift of God that Christ’s Resurrection is the source of all life-both in the here and now and the hereafter. You see, resurrection is not left for the afterlife. Resurrection is not limited to the life beyond but it is instead a reality that’s tangible right now. We aren’t merely called to trudge through this life in the hopes of the resurrection to come. If we are truly Easter people then we have a promise that all in this life that seems more like death no has power over us! The glorious gift of God is that with Christ we are raised from the dead and miraculously given new life right now.
So like the women and the disciples we’re terrified. This is a lot to swallow. Things look different now. But I reckon that comes with the territory. It’s the terrifying and glorious miracle of Easter. And our world won’t ever be the same again!