Have you ever encountered anything that you just can’t explain. Something that just shocks you not only because it’s so unexpected but because it leaves you so confused? Sometimes it can be ordinary things but because they seem so out of place, it just takes a minute to try and process what’s going on. I remember a few Christmases back, when my daughter Janelle and her husband were just engaged. He lived in Jacksonville and she was living at home with us in PCB. He had decided to surprise her by visiting without letting her know she was coming. She was on the phone with him, each of them pining away for each other. Suddenly, the doorbell rang, and Janelle went to answer it, still on the phone. When the door opened, there stood her finance. She was so confused and shocked, she almost closed the door on him – his appearance was completely unexpected and difficult to process.
Imagine that shock a billion times over, and we can start to get a picture of what the followers of Christ were going through when they found an empty tomb one Sunday morning.
We’re going to be reading Luke 24:1-12 this Sunday (only three more teachings in Luke to go!).
This is Luke’s lead up to the actual appearances of Jesus in the resurrection. Luke gives us more perspectives and details than any of the gospels, as a good documentary maker would do. Here, several women go to finish up the job of perfuming Jesus’ corpse only to find the tomb empty and the corpse missing. This was not at all expected. Nor were the angelic glow-dudes who start talking about Jesus not being dead anymore…and things move from unexpected to downright insane. Nevertheless, they put together what Jesus said before and suddenly, what used to be familiar territory starts shifting and changing around them. They go to tell the other disciples who understandably dismiss this all as nonsense.
The whole story is delightful to me! I really love how the various gospel accounts don’t match up very well either. To me, that authenticates this whole scene…full of confusion and conflicting details. Everyone’s in shock trying to figure out what is happening. The only consistent thing in all of the accounts is the subject at the center of this disarray. The tomb is empty and Jesus is gone.
There’s a message in that empty tomb. The fact that Jesus wasn’t able to be confined to that man-made hole tells us something…but what?
The empty tomb was all they had to go on at first. No one SAW Jesus rise from the dead, just a couple florescent fellows said he did. What does that tell us about what it will take to accept this message?
Of all the disciples, Peter (and John according to John’s gospel) went to check this story out for themselves. Even though the claim the women made was completely absurd and flew in the face of every certainty life experience could provide. A willingness to check it out for himself tells us something about Peter…what does that tell us about the impetus for this journey of faith? What do you think is more important, clinical facts, or possibilities?
This is great stuff to explore – looking forward to examining it with you this Sunday!