Monday, April 25, 2011

The First Easter

On the first Easter, there weren't crowds of people driving up in their cars wearing their nicest clothes. There wasn't overflow parking or grandstands set up to witness the event. No reporters were there. No flashbulbs, no special bulletins, no rush to press.

From what I see in the Bible, there was only a small group of women that were at the tomb that morning. The group probably consisted of three or four. Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, Mary the mother of James. They simply went to the tomb to anoint the body of their friend, very similar to the way we leave flowers at the graves of the ones we love.

When they found that the tomb was open and empty, they rushed back into town to tell the eleven apostles the news. I don't know how many they found right away, but apparently only Peter and John ran out to the tomb to check. That brings us to a half-dozen people.

Paul tells us, later on in the New Testament, that Jesus was seen by "500 brethren" after rising from the dead. That's enough to make an argument in court, but that's still nothing for the front page.

Jesus lived his life telling about future rejection, betrayal and execution. Along with this, He told of His resurrection. His followers misunderstood Him, ignored Him and spent a bunch of time trying to change His mind. And after He died, they definitely weren't looking for a miracle comeback.

After He rose from the dead, and told them about His plans for them to continue His work, they still misunderstood His intentions. They wanted him to lead a political overthrow.

This was the result of Jesus' time on Earth and His three years of effort in ministry. I don't know if they had a word for this in the Ancient Greek language, but in English we call it failure.

The book of Hebrews tells us that Jesus "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame". How much shame, hurt and frustration there must have been in going through this process, but Christ had the ability to see beyond that to something in the future.

That's why we celebrate now. That's why we work to understand today.

I smile on Easter Sunday when I see people on their way to worship. Working to understand. Not allowing His work to go unheralded. I know that it would never happen if He didn't--while standing among the six--see the millions of us so many years ago.

And it's for more than just this Sunday.

No comments:

Post a Comment