1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
Imagine something absolutely amazing has happened in your life, only to lose it all. Imagine the experience of Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James. Mary had been set free from seven demons. Joanna had traveled with Jesus. Mary was the mother of an apostle named James. She was the wife of a manager of King Herod’s house. She financially supported Jesus’ ministry. One had been rescued. One had been a companion. Another had been a supporter. They all had an amazing experience of Jesus. There were also other women the Scriptures tell us. I love it when the writers of Scripture leave things to our imagination. It can be any of our stories.
Maybe you don’t have to imagine. Maybe you have a story of something amazing in your life. Only to lose it all. Only to lose something so precious. Or perhaps on the verge of losing. This is the story of the crucifixion and the resurrection. The worst thing ever, followed by the best thing ever. You see, the resurrection story is not about a restoration of old things. It’s about the introduction of something completely new.
I always talk about Star Wars. But today I won’t. I’m going to talk about Lord of the Rings! In the Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf the Grey falls to fight with the Balrog. In the end he dies. But he comes back. Not as Gandalf the Grey. But Gandalf the White! Completely different. Not a restoration of old things, but something new.
I’ve spent much time thinking about the perfect illustration for the resurrection of Jesus, but there really is nothing like it.
The story of Superman and his death and resurrection is quite similar in some ways. It was one of the most epic comics in Superman’s comic book history. In the Christopher Reeve version of the Superman story, you really get this idea of a Messianic figure. Superman is presented as the one and only son of Jor-El, sent to guide planet Earth. Going back to the comics, while the Superman story does present a death and resurrection, It does not come close to what the resurrection of Jesus is like. This is because no other death takes on the whole world and cosmos. No other resurrection takes on the whole world and cosmos. While one can die for another. While Superman at best can die for a whole city. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ deals with the universal human experience of sin. That’s why there is nothing like the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, I’ve come to conclusion. No illustration will work. We just have to look at the Scripture. There we find the depths of truth, which no illustration could ever provide.
The resurrection is not an improved life. The resurrection is a new life.
Teaching: Why do you look for the living among the dead?
- The women who went to the tomb at dawn faced a series of unexpected, confusing events.
- They had just experienced the death of Jesus.
- They were avoiding any potential persecution and went to Jesus’ tomb at dawn.
- They were afraid that Jesus’ body had been stolen.
- They encounter heavenly beings.
- In the face of fear, confusion, loss and grief, God asks the question through the angels: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
- Such a pivotal question, one that changes everything. Like when Copernicus theorized that the sun does not revolve around the earth, but that the earth revolves around the sun.
- This is the wonder of the resurrection.
- Living = zao = experiencing God’s gift of life, derived from God’s self-existent life.
- This is different from bioo, which means physical life.
- Dead = nekron = mortal, dead.
- What’s really being said is: “Why do you look for God among mortals?”
- It was a question directed to help the women understand that the Jesus they were looking for was nothing like who they thought he was. The truth of Jesus’ identity needed to be revealed to them.
- The angel said, “Why do you look for God among mortals? Jesus is not here! Jesus is risen!”
- What does this mean for us?
- We are those of nekron, living with a bios life.
- Meaning, we are mortal beings with physical life.
- And to overcome the things of mortality we need more than physical life. We need God’s resurrection power.
- This resurrection power is not a simple restoration that once was.
- Lazarus was resurrected only to die again. He was restored in his physical body.
- Jesus was resurrected to a zoe life.
- This is what Jesus offers us.
- John 3:16 – “that whosoever believes in me shall have eternal life.” ZOE LIFE.
- From Gospel Coalition
- “All life lived apart from the resurrection is really a slow death.”
- We live to die, or we’re dying to live.
- But the resurrection means that we live to live.
- Redirects us from death to life
- Redirects us from the cross to resurrection
- While the cross is so much and so central to the Christian life, it is not the end.
- The resurrection takes us from tragedy to triumph.
- There’s something magnificent beyond the cross: The EMPTY TOMB
- Redirects us from feeling to Scripture
- All the range of emotions of fear, loss and grief that dominated the women and the disciples. The angels remind the women about the teachings of Jesus: about his death and resurrection.
- We are not held captive by our emotions. But we are set free by the truth of the Gospel.
- Redirects us from current events to God’s providence
- While the women, the disciples, the men on the road to Emmaus were caught up in the tragedy, activity and the intensity of recent events, they were clouded by men’s actions.
- They were missing the act of God in the midst.
- The resurrection revealed the truth of the matter.
- During every “current event,” there is God’s hand at work somewhere.
- Redirects us from the Law to the Gospel
- Romans 4:25 – He was delivered over to death and raised to life for our justification.
- Shifts our focus from our obedience to faith in Christ’s obedience.
- Shifts our focus from our ability to overcome to faith in Christ’s actual overcoming.
- Redirects us from Grief to Joy
- When your source of joy does not come from things that shift and change with the weather, but comes from the unchanging truth of Jesus Christ and his resurrection,
- No matter the grief, there is a fountain of joy you can draw from and find your heart at rest. You know that this is not the end of the story.
The resurrection changes everything.
Will you spend some time in prayer and reflection today? And declare the change that has been made through Jesus Christ. You may not see it with your natural eyes, but declare it with faith eyes.