The Resurrection of the Lord
April 16, 2017
We began this Lenten Season marveling at the fullness of Jesus’s human nature as He withstood the temptations of the flesh. He showed the power of the human spirit, when fortified by The Holy Spirit, to withstand every assault by Satan.
The 2nd weekend in Lent, we moved from the desert to the mountaintop. There, like Peter, James, and John, we were privileged witnesses to a display of Jesus’s Divine nature. We were given a glimpse of the glorified Christ as Jesus was transfigured. Even His clothing was electrified…as were the three eyewitnesses. The experience was so profound that Peter didn’t want it to end. But, while in this world, even on mountaintops, we can only get a brief glimpse of God’s Glory. Jesus led His friends back down the mountain to the real world. Still, it’s amazing to think that after what they saw and heard, they still asked: What does it mean to be raised from the dead?
We’ve completed the Lenten journey, and now we are standing outside of the empty tomb. STILL…the questions, confusion, and even doubts persist. What does it mean to be raised from the dead?
As the Easter mystery unfolds, Mary Magdalene fails to recognize The Risen Lord. Peter and one other are met by an angel who is waiting for them inside the empty tomb. There seems to be an air of frantic confusion and shock. We are given the sense that the Apostles and disciples were rushing around in haste, sharing the bits and pieces of information as they were reported, wondering what might be false news and what is reality. Resurrection is like that; it is way too big for the human mind to absorb.
Fear runs high within the community. They remain behind the locked doors of the Upper Room. The Easter Story even contains a very definite note of doubt, and doubt is contagious, especially when confined to a closed-in space. So, over the next weeks, The Risen Christ lovingly and gently exposes His followers to just exactly what it means to be raised from the dead.
The centuries have passed and the question persists: What we do know with certainty is that Resurrection, like Transfiguration, is not part of the material world. The beautiful post-Resurrection stories we will be hearing during the Easter Season could not go on and on. The Risen Christ could not remain in this world indefinitely. He had to leave the prison of time and return to Eternity. And, like the Apostles and disciples, we have to move out of the Easter Season into Ordinary Time and the ordinary world. But, the Lent and Easter lessons should have fortified our spirits so that as we cross “the barren desert,” we are not tempted to relegate Resurrection to indulgence of our appetites, wealth, and riches, or power and control.
What does it mean to be raised from the dead? All we can say with complete certainty is that it is the passage from sin and death to Eternal Life in Christ. For believers, the end to the story is Christ, Who IS Resurrection and Life. That is all we really need to know. Alleluia!