He is not here, He is risen.
This message comes from Sunday morning – where we find an empty tomb. The most crucial moment in history is about a resurrection. The empty tomb reveals that everything Jesus said was true.
It is one thing to say what you will do, it is another thing entirely to have it happen. It is one thing to predict the future, it is another thing to have it unfold exactly as you said. This is especially the case when it involves resurrection – coming back from the dead.
Jesus spoke about many things in a relatively short period of time. Amoung them, He provided insight into the heart and nature of God. He upended the religious system followed by Israel. He did so by espousing God’s deepest desire – to walk in relationship with people. What God wants was more than a system of beliefs to follow was to walk in relationship with each person.
Jesus offered a new path.
Then He was arrested, tried and put to death. The message He delivered would die with Him – or so it seemed. Except – the resurrection occurred.
Even though He said He would come back to life those closest to Him were skeptical. They witnessed Jesus dying a cruel and gruesome death on the cross. They saw Him taken down and placed in a tomb. Hope – hope in Him and His words – faded.
But then, on the first day of the week – Sunday morning – some women go to the grave to anoint His body. Typically they would have done it sooner, but nothing was typical. They never expected Jesus to die. So by the time they prepared the spices and ointments to anoint His body, as was their custom, the Passover had arrived and they had to wait.
As early as they could on Sunday morning they went to the tomb only to find it empty. Two men appeared and asked them “why they were looking for the living amoung the dead?” Previously Jesus said it was going to happen. Could it be?
They react as you would expect. In Luke 24 we read their response.
9 So they rushed back from the tomb to tell his eleven disciples—and everyone else—what had happened. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and several other women who told the apostles what had happened.
This reaction is understandable. These women had their lives impacted by Jesus through both His words and love. He offered them respect and value – so much more than was typical of their time and culture. They arrived at the tomb to perform one final act of devotion. And then this. With hope fading, if not lost entirely, it was now being renewed.
They were ecstatic. However, something happened. They were not believed. The next line reads…
11 But the story sounded like nonsense to the men, so they didn’t believe it.
It was considered nonsense. Resurrection – hardly. These women must be overcome with grief, delirious, emotionally stricken, anything but sane. It would be best to ignore them. They have no credibility. Their opinion did not matter as much. Do not believe these women.
In hindsight we can see the foolishness of the rest of the followers of Jesus. Yet, I wonder.
I wonder how often we dismiss those we see having no or little credibility – at least from our perspective. They are unbelievable because they do not measure up to what we perceive as a credible voice. They are too:
- White, Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian, Mid Eastern
Whatever else we use to distinguish people from us. What do we use to define and dismiss someone else’s voice?
In this case we find it was women speaking nonsense.
These other followers had witnessed the facts as they understood them. They too had seen the unthinkable happen – Jesus put to death. They saw with His death the death of all He had promised and taught. To think anything different was… nonsense.
Thus, the nonsense of their message caused these women to be dismissed. How could you take them seriously?
They were right.
It makes me wonder if in our rush to judgement we dismiss voices we do not think are credible. We dismiss them because we see them as ill informed, not worth listening to, sheer nonsense.
I am not suggesting that we follow or believe everything we hear. In an age where “facts” or “truth” is hard to define, we would be foolish to do so. However, I am suggesting we be slower in our rush to judgement.
What sounded like nonsense was the describing the most significant event in history – “He is not here, He is risen.”