Have you ever gotten unexpected Good News? Perhaps the promotion and the raise you weren’t expecting. Or the high grade on the test you expected to fail? Or acceptance into the school you thought was impossible to get? Today’s passage tells us good news that was completely unexpected. Jesus, the crucified Messiah is alive again.
After days of mourning and weeping, the loss and the pain of Jesus’ crucifixion was still fresh on the disciple’s hearts. They were too sad leave the safety of their locked room, but they knew they couldn’t stay there forever. On Sunday, several women according to custom went to the tomb and anoint the body with spices and perfume. What they saw and heard was the first announcement that changed everything.
Thirty years before this event, a group of angels announced the birth of Jesus to a bunch of shepherds. But now an angel stood by the tomb and announced something that would forever change people’s relationship with God forever. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise (Luke 24:5-7).”
A few observations about this passage:
- The news announced by the angel was unexpected. To state the obvious, dead people stay dead. They don’t come back. The women were expecting to go to the tomb to anoint a dead body but they couldn’t find the body. The situation left them “perplexed” (v 4). Even after the women announced the angel’s news to the apostles, “these words seemed to them an idle tale and they did not believe them (v.11)”. But like unexpected good news, Jesus didn’t stay dead.
- Jesus is to be categorized among the living, not the dead. The angel announced that Jesus was not among the dead by asking a question- “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, he is risen”. There was a shift in categories for Jesus. He was dead, but he is no longer.
- This was the first time the Good News was understood after Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus had told several times before what would happen, but Jesus’ followers didn’t understand it at the time. The angels’ announcement was the first time the context fit the message. It was the first explanation of what was happening- “The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified on the third day.”
- Jesus honored the devotion of the women. Much has been made about the fact that the first announcement of Jesus’ resurrection was made to a group of women. Traditionally, women’s testimonies were not seen as reliable. And even the Apostles thought what they said was an, “idle tale”. They were the first to hear about Jesus’ resurrection not because they were women per se, but because of their devotion to Christ.
The disciples were starting to understand what was happening. Although the news was hazy, and was just whispers just starting to spread, there was something that was starting to build in their hearts: hope. They would soon see Jesus themselves. But they would need help to understand what this all meant.
Questions for Meditation:
- What was your first encounter with death? When did you realize the permanence of death?
- How and when did you first hear about Jesus rising from the dead?
- In the same way the disciples had to learn and grow in understanding what Jesus’ death and resurrection meant, how have you grown since learning about Jesus’ resurrection? How has the resurrection affected your life?