If you haven’t noticed, a popular thematic or genre in fictional stories of our culture is the proverbial undead. Be it death-wielding werewolves, vampires, zombies, aliens, pandemics, etc, all these are a fictional way of denying death its last word and hoping that life will overcome death’s grip on us. Its appeal is to deny death its end of us. But while it tries to suspend death a while longer, it isn’t really life. Positive Life.
What the two Marys had to deal with from the perspective of the biblical version of the invasion of the dead was the message from God’s heavenly messenger – Jesus lives. That was not what happens in the limestone tombs of Jerusalem or anywhere else. It produced fear and great joy.
The fact that the occurrence of Jesus’ resurrection is the core basis for Christianity’s faith doesn’t mean it is easy to believe. It wasn’t easy for the first women and men disciples of Jesus. It isn’t easy for us to believe.
Sheldon Tostengard writes, “To speak of Christ’s love in a world that thinks love as sentiment is discouraging. To speak of sin in a world that doesn’t want to hear it is enervating. And to speak of the unreasonable resurrection in a very reasonable world can take the wind out of anyone’s sails.”
We have good news to call our own. News to tell.
All Christians, because of their baptism, are called upon to bear witness to the death and resurrection of Jesus. We have a saving story of the living Christ to give to a dying world.
Brian Blount finishes the thought on resurrection as he writes, “Even in popular culture, whose suspension of belief is commonly
requested and regularly conceded, not even the undead (e.g. vampires, zombie) really live again. They are after all, only undead. Life is not a negative; it is the ultimate positive. Resurrection is Life. … It is Jesus’ life, then, that reveals the ultimate meaning of life… According to the canonical Gospel sources, the one-time messianic corpse is not undead. Jesus lives. He does not live with the restraints that shackle the rest of us to the logic of dying and the reality of death. He lives positively free from every restraint. And he lives forever. His living does not just conquer death in a singularly miraculous moment; his living reconfigures the physics of death and portends death’s impending demise. For all of us.”
It is the same Holy Spirit who has reason to stir us and awaken faith in us with the cry, “He is risen, He is not here. Go and tell,” that we, too, live. Positive life.
I don’t think we will ever stop out of fear and I know we won’t stop because of the joy of this good news to say these words Jesus Still Lives.
The Crucified who lives be your Joy. Pastor Gary
Happy Easter from the Larsons!