Devotion and Prayer for Week of March 31, 2013

Meditation for the week of March 31, 2013

  

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

                                                                                                                        Luke 24: 5

 

One of the challenges of interpreting any written material is determining the tone intended by the writer.  What I mean is that words on a printed page tend to be somewhat one-dimensional and so figuring out if they were spoken with anger, sarcasm, humor or passion can be a little difficult.

Take the above passage from Luke’s gospel.  These are the words spoken by the angels to the women who arrived at Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning only to find it empty.  Of course the women were confused and bewildered, as they, like any of us, would expect to find the One whom they buried, still dead.  So, the angels pose this question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

Now, how did they say it?  Was it simply a matter of fact?  Were they only trying to convey information regarding Jesus’ absence?  Like I said, it’s hard to tell from just the words on the page because we cannot hear their voices.  We cannot hear the inflection they used.

However, I would like to think that they spoke these tremendous words of comfort with a bit of “impish joy.”  Consider how long these angels had been waiting to say these words.  Millennia upon millennia had passed by since Adam and Eve first introduced death into the world through their sin.  They had witnessed the tragedy of millions upon millions of graves being dug and bodies laid to rest without even one rising from the dead never to die again.  Every graveyard speaks of the tragedy of the fall.  Every tombstone is a monument to what seems to be death’s final victory over us all.  Now, these angels get to break the news to those who mourn that death is not the victor but rather, by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, it is a defeated foe.

And so the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” seems almost playful.  I can almost picture these words being said with a knowing smile all to joyfully convey the notion that to look for those who are alive among those who are dead is silly.  Why in the world would anyone do that especially after Jesus had told them this would happen?  He would die and he would rise from the dead to defeat death forever and for us.  Jesus is not here.  He is not dead.  He is risen!

He is risen, indeed!  Alleluia!  The joy of Easter truly is the empty grave.  So powerful was Jesus’ death on the cross for sin that the wage it demanded (death) has been paid in full.  However, the good news is that it has been paid in full for you and for me.  What awaits us is not an eternity spent in a grave among the dead but an eternity with our living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Because of him we too will someday walk from our graves leaving them empty and we will never, never return to them again.  Best of all, because of Jesus, the words of the angels can be applied to us, “They are not here.  They are risen!”  Thanks be to Jesus!

 

Our Weekly Prayer

Heavenly Father, in your goodness you sent your son Jesus into the world to solve the problem of sin and death.  By his death on the cross and his empty tomb we see the proof that sin and death have been defeated.  Let that empty tomb be a joyful reminder to us all of Jesus’ victory which he won for us, and that, because he lives, we too shall live.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.