Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter - The Day Everything Changes

Very early Sunday morning, the women--Mary Magdalene, Joanna, James' mother, and a few others, went to the tomb with some spices they had prepared for Jesus' burial.  Jesus is dead, and they want to honor his body.  This is what you do when someone dies.

As I sit here, I wonder what's going through their minds.  Do they walk silently and mourn?  Do they speak quietly to each other, sharing memories of Jesus.  Are they still crying?  

I don't know. 

The previous week had its highs and lows.  Only seven days before, Jesus rode in a donkey to cries of "Hosanna, Blessed is the One who comes in the Name of the Lord!"  Last Sunday the people thought he was the Messiah.  By Thursday, they called out, "Crucify him!"  How could it have gone so wrong?  

The finality of death weighed heavily on the women.  In a culture that treated women like property, Jesus treated them with respect, as if they mattered.  As a woman, I think that's huge. 

And then they came to the tomb.  The stone, which some estimate might have weighed up to two tons, had been rolled away from the opening, and the guards, which Pilate had ordered to watch the tomb, were gone.  

The women walked inside the cave-like tomb, but when they went inside, they couldn't find Jesus body.  And while the women try to figure out what's going on, two men in clothes that gleam like lightening appear beside them.  The women fall to the ground--the standard reaction when people see angels. 

And these men ask, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!"  

And then the angels remind the women, "Remember his words?  He said, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, will be crucified, and on the third day he will rise again.'" (Luke 24:7).  

When he spoke those words, they didn't make any sense at all.  Dead is dead.  Perhaps there's a resurrection at the end of the age, but people don't wake up after they die.  

Right now, in the empty tube, the words take new shape for the women.  Hope fills their hearts.  And they run out of the tomb to tell Peter and the other disciples.  You can't keep this kind of news to yourself!  

In dying, Jesus defeats the law of death.  Everything changes with this one act.  The death and resurrection of Jesus are game changers.  Nothing is the same.  

The resurrection of Jesus restores hope. 
The impossible is possible.

Swallowed into earth's dark womb 
Death has triumphed 
That's what they say 
But try to hold him in the tomb   
The Son of Life rose on the third day
Just lookThe gates of hell, They're fallingCrumbling from the inside outHe's bursting throughThe walls with laughter Listen to the Angels shout 
It is finishedHe has done itLife conquered deathJesus Christ has won it 
His plan of battle
He fooled them allThey led Him off to prison to dieBut as He entered Hades HallHe broke those hellish chains with a cry 
Just listen to those demons screamingSee Him bruise the serpent's headThe prisoners of HellHe's redeeming All the power of death is dead 
It is finishedHe has done itLife conquered deathJesus ChristHas won it

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