Resurrection as Injustice Undone, Part 1

Resurrection as Injustice Undone, Part 1 April 9, 2024


Our title this week is Resurrection as Injustice Undone and our reading this third weekend of Easter is from the gospel of Luke:

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

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They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. (Luke 24:36-48)

Let’s get the context of this reading. It all begins back in the first verse of chapter 24.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; he has risen!

Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:

‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”’ Then they remembered his words. (Luke 24:1-8)

Luke’s version of the resurrection story is probably my favorite of the four versions in our sacred canon. Unlike Mark and Matthew, which set up the early Jesus movement to grow out of a Galilean center, Luke sets the movement in a Judean center that begins in Jerusalem, not Galilee, and lays the foundation for the events we will read about in the book of Acts. What makes Luke my favorite, though, is that it captures best what the good news was for the early Lukan community: “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

The good news for the early Jesus movement was not that Jesus had died. How could it have been? In the beginning, and for most of the early Jewish Jesus followers, the fact that Rome had again suppressed a Jewish movement for justice and change was not good news. The good news is that this Jesus, who stood with the marginalized and oppressed—this Jesus their God had brought back to life! The execution of Jesus had been reversed, undone, and defeated. Everything accomplished through the death of Jesus had been undone! Jesus salvific work had been interrupted but not stopped.

Now his life giving work would live on in the lives of his followers. They did not see their salvation as accomplished through the cross. They saw the cross as the status quo’s attempt to stop Jesus’ saving, life-giving work. And the resurrection was the sign that the cross had been reversed. Rome didn’t have the last word; justice, love, compassion had the last word. Now the saving work of Jesus would live on and grow.

We’ll consider the emphasis in our reading this week, in Part 2.



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About Herb Montgomery
Herb Montgomery, director of Renewed Heart Ministries, is an author and adult religious re-educator helping Christians explore the intersection of their faith with love, compassion, action, and societal justice. You can read more about the author here.

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