Friday, April 9, 2010

Lent Reflections: Christ the Victor

I guess it doesn’t matter than I’m writing my final thoughts on our Lenten study almost a week after Easter.  After all, the fact that Christ rose from the grave is not something that ends at Easter. It is a message that continues and blesses us to this day.  Without the resurrection, this story could not have continued.  It would not have continued.  How could it?  Would the disciples ever have come out of hiding?  Would any of them had even bothered to write down their experience or Jesus’ words? What would have been the point?  After all, they weren’t there when he died or was buried.  His burial was left to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, both most likely members of the Sanhedrin. Do you suppose they felt guilty for not speaking up earlier during the trial?  Perhaps they both felt this was a way for them to make it up to Jesus.  I wonder if they realized that their work in preparing his body was futile, that in 3 days Jesus would be resurrected.

On that day, Jesus chose to first reveal himself to those who showed up first: Mary Magdalene, another Mary and Salome.  Interesting that he chose to reveal himself to them first.That they were the ones to tell the others first. I cannot even imagine what was going through the women’s heads at that time: disbelief, fear, a small part of them daring to believe it.  Like all the disciples, I suppose. All of the gospels agree that there was disbelief among all of the faithful.  They were brutally honest about that.  After spending over 24 hours in hiding to avoid the same fate as Jesus, they saw him.  They talked to him, ate with him, walked with him.  And then, they proclaimed him.  They endured torture, jail time, most were martyred for proclaiming that Jesus is not dead, he defeated death and is our champion!

But the Resurrection is not simply about a man being raise from the dead: after all, Jesus did that while still alive. The Resurrection is about God showing his power over evil, over death.  He has shown that we just need to side with him to be on the winning team.  We still NEED to choose him. We still have the free will to reject him, to reject the story, to find a way to explain away the resurrection.

To me, the final word of the entire study is that the power of Easter is Hope.  Hope in Jesus. Hope in life eternal. Hope that there is reason and meaning in this life. Hope.

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