Sunday, April 16, 2006

Resurrection...not remembrance

Back at Bourne End Community Church today, for possibly the last time in a while, where Simon was preaching on the end of Luke 23 and the beginning of Luke 24, with reference to the women making their way to the tomb, and right and wrong ways to react to Jesus, His life, death and resurrection.

These women loved Jesus. They had 'followed Him from Galilee' and served Him as best they could while He was alive. Now, on the day between the first Good Friday and the first Easter Sunday, they were preparing to try to continue to serve Him after His death. What a sombre day that must have been for Jesus followers. We can only imagine the despair, the humiliation and the anger they went through. This man, Jesus of Nazareth, who they thought was the Messiah, this man, who had promised to rebuild the temple in three days had been executed with criminals, and now lay cold in a tomb. What must it have been like for the women as they prepared to anoint Jesus' body?

Many people see Jesus as a good man, who taught us good things. Who taught a good moral code, who had some nice ideas and live a good life. But that's all. Jesus as a man who should be honoured and respected and remembered, but not much else. So they go to church at Christmas and Easter...and sometimes they take communion. But Easter is not some sort of remembrance Sunday for the church. Communion is not a Christians way of saying 'we will remember Him'. For Jesus is not just a good man who died, not just a great man, teacher and moral guide who died, as the women may have thought of Him, as millions do today. Jesus is the living God, the King of mankind, the Firstborn from all creation. The women wanted to remember Jesus, to respect and celebrate His memory...but He is risen! He is risen! And as this impacted the women's plans and reaction to Jesus so it must impact ours.

Others would say 'things have moved on'. That Jesus taught some good things, but that was two thousand years ago. He doesn't say anything relevant to my life. He never said anything about the internet, or texting, or 4X4 ownership, or student loans, or anything about any of the other thousands of things that take up our time today. Sure, He meant a lot to the people that knew Him...but thats about it isn't it? And maybe the women were thinking this as well, it was Sunday, they'd last seen Jesus on Friday. His life, their time together was already just a memory, a time that had passed. It's time to start thinking about how they'll live the rest of their remembrance sure, but that's all it'll be, a memory. But when they got to the tomb, and realized He was risen, all that changed. We can't 'remember' someone who is alive, they still have an impact on our day to day lives. We can interact with Him, He can teach us, comfort us, rebuke us. He is living. No longer, as the women discovered, in the tomb. So sure, things have moved on since First Century Palestine. But Jesus, the risen one, is just as alive now, as He was then. And He owns the universe. He knows everything about the internet, and texting, and anything else you care to mention, because He is GOD! We can have a relationship with Him today because He is ALIVE. How will we live the rest of our lives? As resurrection people!

On that morning the women were going to anoint a dead Jesus. It would have been awkward, what would they do? What would they say to eachother? How will they leave the tomb? Will they come back tomorrow? Predictable though. Jesus was dead, they knew exactly were to find Him, exactly what box to put Him in. But, they didn't find Him there. Why would they? Why look for the living amongst the dead? They were reacting in totally the wrong way. They didn't know what to do. A dead Jesus is predictable...a living Jesus is a different matter all together. The same spirit that raised Him from the dead now lives in us. Now He is risen, we can share life with Him, life in all its fullness. There is no need to fear death, or life. Jesus has conquered death, and rules life. The resurrection confirms to us that Jesus was who He claimed to be...That same spirit that raised Him, also raised us. And lives in us.

Easter Sunday is not a time for remembrance but celebration. We celebrate our Risen King. We celebrate the new life we can have in Him, that He has given us. We celebrate that He has conquered death. We celebrate that His death and resurrection accomplished everything. We are humbled as He calls us brother, and encouraged. If Jesus can conquer death, He can do anything. What an awesome God. The resurrection demands a reaction. Not one of awkward remembrance, or of halfheartedness. But of worship. Of awe. Of celebration. There is a name of one man in heaven and earth, throughout all eternity worthy of praise. That is Jesus Christ. The awesome, beautiful living God.

1 comment:

Lou said...

sounds really similar to what i heard in Church this morning. i don't mean that in a bad way; obviously it's amaazing. today was actually the first Easter day that i've ever been to Church (what a shocker!) and it was so so amazing. He is risen indeed!