(A Reflection based on a sermon by Marcus Borg)
Luke 24:1-12 The Message (MSG)
Looking for the Living One in a Cemetery
1-3 At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.
4-8 They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.
9-11 They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn’t believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.
12 But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that’s all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.
Hymn – Because He Lives — Bill Gaither
“an empty tomb is there to prove my savior lives” –
For many, the focus is on an empty tomb – so Jesus HAD to have been raised…
So, if we dig up Elvis and the coffin is empty… was Elvis raised
A noted theologian, Marcus Borg, offers a interesting reflection on the resurrection…
He talks of reading a poll of American Christians about the resurrection of Jesus, that reported that more than 90% of American Christians say that the resurrection of Jesus matters greatly to them. I agree – without the affirmation of Jesus’ resurrection, Christianity makes no important sense.
Borg states that he was disappointed that these Christians responded with “Yes” to the question whether Jesus’ resurrection was “physical” and “bodily.”
Thinking that this way of understanding Easter is a distraction.
It makes Easter just a spectacular event that happened ONCE upon a time…
And a message that death is not the end for us,
That Easter is primarily about the promise of an afterlife.
But stories in the rest of the NT show that the resurrection is more significant-
NOT dependent on a bodily resurrection. – but on the appearances of Jesus to his followers after his death….
Some of his followers had experiences him as a living reality of the present, not just as a figure of the past.
The recorded BODILY experiences happened in the forty days between Easter and Ascension
Other experiences were visions – such as when Jesus “appeared” to them – and to Paul.
Borg argues that some may say visions were no big deal—some visions are hallucinations, an encounter with something that is not real.
When this is the case, they are most often dysfunctional.
But some visions carry a deep sense of an encounter with reality, and they are life-changing and not dysfunctional at all.
For Jesus’ followers, their visions led to the conviction:
Jesus lives – he is a present reality, not just a much-beloved figure of the past.
This meaning is expressed in John’s gospel when the risen Jesus appears to Thomas. Thomas does not simply say, “
You’re alive,” but exclaims,
“My Lord and my God!” ‘’
Jesus is alive
Jesus is Lord
As it was for the early Christians…
It has even been called the earliest Christian creed. “Jesus is Lord” –
At the tomb, Mary is asked:
Why do you look for the living among the dead?
We don’t find Jesus in the land of the dead…
He lives —
His enemies killed him – but could not stop him
They crucified him – buried him in a borrowed tomb that could not hold him…
Within our hearts…
Still recruiting people to share his passion for the Kingdom of God..
Easter is not just about victory over death…and heaven.. and after life…
It is about transforming the world…
About a NEW BEGINNING –