Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Seeking the Living Among The Dead: I'm Listening!

Luke 24:1-13.

After most have denied him or cowered in the shadows at the foot of the cross, they retire to safe cover as the sun sets and Sabbath begins.

One Joseph of Arimathea makes a plea for the lifeless body of one Jesus of Nazareth, born in Bethlehem under tax enrollment upheaval and displacement.

Now, ordinarily the one being executed might have taken a little longer to die, had he not already been so weakened by scourging, blood loss and dehydration. Then the Romans would have left the body on the cross to be picked at by crows and swarmed by blowflys and maggots while rotting in the sun: Let this be a reminder, tax evaders, insurgents, revolutionaries and those who claim that anyone besides Caesar is the son of God.

Not this time. Pilate does not accede to the temple leaders' requests to revise "The King of the Jews" to "He said he was the King of the Jews." Pilate does not appear to believe Jesus should be put to death. He probably grudgingly gives the order so as to leave nothing to chance about possible insurgent leaders while placating the priestly class who could foment rebellion themselves. He signs the death warrant. But it's probably as much a poke in the eye back at 'em when Pilate grants Joseph of A-town the body.

The women go out to do the dirty work of finishing preparation of Jesus' body early on the first day of the week. They go expecting to find nothing but a body. They find a very different scene instead. They hear the words from beings of light "Why do you seek the living among the dead?"

It hadn't occurred to them that they were doing that. The words seemed like nonsense. They go back to tell the male disciples. The women's words seemed like nonsense to the men. I think the Bible and translators are being kind. I think the men probably responded with words more in the category of unprintables.

Hint, guys (gals, too!): Never make fun of somebody who has seen angels! Not unless you have seen something better.

In the days and hours and years and decades and centuries and millennia to follow, people have come to know and experience a powerful relationship with a living Christ.

Do those words seem like nonsense? Are we listening? Or are our lives still seeking the living among the dead?

He lives! Not just because the Bible tells me so. I know.

And here's a little tip. If death has been vanquished, sin doesn't stand a chance.

Er ist nicht hier. Aber er ist auferstanden. (German. Sounds like nonsense until you understand what the words mean.)



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