“He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.”
These women witnessed something incredible. Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” were the first preachers, called to preach the most important message: “He has been raised from the dead.” According to this account of the first Easter morning, the angel of the Lord delivered the message to these women, then Jesus.
Cameron Murchison says that the resurrection event calls the church to seek Good News always, saying, “This Easter image reminds the church that it is the beloved community that can be quick to look for the work of divine love amid the tragedies of personal existence and the injustices of social experience, even when most of the world believes that dream has long since ended.” For the disciples and the rest of the world, the dream they believed in, the Rabbi they followed, the Lord they had hoped for for years was ended. In the early hours of Sunday, God showed that God had not forsaken Jesus, nor the world. Rather, God raised Jesus in protest of the unjust systems, gruesome death, and silencing of the Message. God raised Jesus and affirmed the message as lived and preached during Jesus’ life. God took this tragedy and transformed it into an expression of love and life.
This message of Jesus’ resurrection was so strange and surprising that their first reaction was to be afraid. When they finally laid their eyes on the Risen One, he said again, “Do not be afraid.” Jesus’ resurrection was not scary because it is like an episode of The Walking Dead. It was scary because no one could have fathomed it ending like this. The disciples, most especially these women who stuck around after the others fled, had endured a roller coaster of emotions. This was the last thing they expected.
How many times does that happen? God is always creating life from things that were dead. God is always working in darkness to birth life in the world. These things never cease to be surprising to us because we tend to place God in a box. With our finitude and limited human minds, we think we know what God can and cannot do. But, resurrection blows that box wide open.
Loving God, thank you for new life!