There is a resurrection.
There is always a resurrection.
When it’s grey and cold outside and you feel like you have the flu, there is a resurrection.
When the body hurts, the mind is blurred, and the soul is number, there is always a resurrection.
Even when The Book is closed and the story and Hero forgotten and we all return to our “real” life, there is always a resurrection.
Again, Mark seems to minimize the Resurrection. He says only that “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene” (verse 9) and “After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country” (verse 12). No mention of Peter and John, and only minimal detail.
For some reason, this year, I like Mark’s sparse account. Maybe it’s because I’m going through yet another dry and achy season in my life in which I find it more difficult to see God than at other times. Mark appears to underestimate the importance of the Resurrection, telling the story only indirectly and in few, unadorned words.
But maybe he is so sparse because faith is to be so rich. Faith is supposed to bend and glean from these few verses all that is necessary to make and eat its daily bread. It may not seem like much, but through it God will miraculously provide all that is needed for the hungry and weary soul.
I’ve just noticed something: where are the disciples, the 11? They seem to have wandered off the pages somewhere around the end of Mark 14, at the point that Peter has denied the Lord for the third time. Where have they gone, and what are they doing as the women look on and seek and see Jesus?
I seem to spend a lot of my time in Mark 15. I seem to have wandered off the page and out of the story of the life of Jesus. He is still busy dying and being killed and resurrecting, but I don’t notice because I’m not there.
Where have I gone, and what am I doing? Oh, you know – stuff. I’m doing really important stuff, man. No, really. I’m busy teaching school. I’m busy loving on a wife and raising five kids in a world gone mad. I’m fighting a body that fights against itself and is tired all the time. I’m busy trying to figure things out and have a little fun. I’m busy trying to file my tax returns so I can keep the family going, and I’m busy juggling one more financial ball in an attempt to stay or get out of debt.
I’m even doing church. I’m pastoring even. I’m living life the best that I can, but I’m doing it outside the pages of The Book, and so I miss Him. Him. I miss the one thing that is necessary.
But when I read Mark 16:14, I wander back into The Book again. I creep in with the 11 where I read, “Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table, and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.”
I can stand a good rebuke from Him. I deserve it because I, too, have been unbelieving. It’s not that I’ve denied Him or His resurrection, but if you aren’t in the presence of God and He’s not in all your thoughts, then you can’t really believe in the One who isn’t real to you, can you?
I’m one of the blessed ones, for even if I’ve wandered out of Jesus and His life in Mark 15 I’m not one of those that got so involved in another story that I never found my way back to Mark 16.
And so I welcome the rebuke of the Master because it means I am in His blessed presence once more.
It means there is a Resurrection.
There is always a Resurrection.
And the Resurrection always trumps whatever other cards you feel like God or life has dealt you. Are you sick and weak in the body? One day you will be resurrected with your Lord. Is your life filled with arguments, hostilities, and war? One day you will be resurrected and find perfect peace. Have you made a mess of your life and wish you had a “do over”? There is a resurrection for those who love God and are united to His Son (and therefore His Resurrection) by baptism, faith, and faithfulness.
Exult, all creation around God’s throne!
Jesus Christ, our King, is risen!
Sound the trumpet of salvation!
Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor,
radiant in the brightness of your King!
Christ has conquered! Glory
Rejoice, O Mother Church! Exult in glory!
The risen Savior shines upon you!
Let this place resound with joy,
echoing the mighty song of all God’s people!
It is truly right
that with full hearts and minds and voices
we should praise the unseen God, the all-powerful Father,
and his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
For Christ has ransomed us with his blood,
and paid for us the price of Adam’s sin
to our eternal Father!
This is our passover feast,
when Christ, the true Lamb, is slain,
whose blood consecrates the homes of all believers.
This is the night when first you saved our fathers:
you freed the people of Israel from their slavery
and led them dry-shod through the sea.
This is the night when the pillar of fire
destroyed the darkness of sin!
This is the night when Christians everywhere,
washed clean of sin
and freed from all defilement,
are restored to grace and grow together in holiness.
This is the night when Jesus Christ
broke the chains of death
and rose triumphant from the grave.
What good would life have been to us,
had Christ not come as our Redeemer?
Father, how wonderful your care for us!
How boundless your merciful love!
To ransom a slave you gave away your Son.
O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam,
which gained for us so great a Redeemer!
Most blessed of all nights, chosen by God
to see Christ rising from the dead!
Of this night scripture says:
“The night will be as clear as day:
it will become my light, my joy.”
The power of this holy night
dispels all evil, washes guilt away,
restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy;
it casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride.
Night truly blessed when heaven is wedded to earth
and man is reconciled with God!
Therefore, heavenly Father, in the joy of this night,
receive our evening sacrifice of praise,
your Church’s solemn offering.
Let it mingle with the lights of heaven
and continue bravely burning
to dispel the darkness of this night!
May the morning Star which never sets find this flame still burning:
Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead,
and shed his peaceful light on all mankind,
your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. (The Exsultet or Easter Proclamation)
Points for Meditation:
- In what ways are you presently most able to see and hear God? Magnify these so that you may be better able to see God and love Him.
- In what ways are you in need of resurrection? Pray to God to help you in these areas.
Resolution: I resolve to spend some time today examining my whole life in light of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and my own promised resurrection.
The Resurrection by Mantegna – Public Domain