Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’.
Amazing stuff, the story hadn’t ended on Good Friday, and Jesus would be seen again by many of his friends and followers. Hope was reborn and a new way of life was available to all, and it was free at the point of access – Jesus himself. The significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection is no less important to us today than it was to his earliest disciples. We’re looking for answers to questions of cruelty, poverty, war and injustice in our time, just as they were in theirs.
It took the disciples some time to come to terms with what was happening on that first Easter, and it can take time for us to work through what Jesus may mean in our experience. Sometimes we’d rather live with our mistakes and short comings than change for the better. I think it was Winston Churchill who remarked - ‘Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.’
That Jesus might be the answer to the questions we ask often comes as a shock. The great comedian Spike Milligan once wrote to the Times with an addition to his obituary – ‘Dear Sir, would you check my obituary as I’ve not been feeling too well lately. My most recent exploit was trying to save Rye Hospital. Would you please add this to my list of achievements. Yours ailing, Spike.’
What constitutes achievement? How can we find lasting peace of mind? When the Risen Lord surprised the disciples with his appearance in a securely locked upper room in Jerusalem, the last thing they expected was to be commissioned by their executed leader to save the world. What a turn around this was, they were terrified and desperate, but Jesus’ words had come about – ‘take courage; I have conquered the world.’ ( John 16.33 )
Thinking again about the Call of Jesus to follow him, become part of his ‘turn around team’ on planet Earth, may be the check-mate to death and meaninglessness, and the fear that our achievements may not in the end be enough.
Spike Milligan was worried about his obituary, but for a Christian an obituary is always going to be premature!
I hope this Easter that you will be able to find the time to think again about this man who seemed to his followers and friends to have lost everything on Good Friday, but by Easter Sunday had been proved right and gained everything – not for himself but for you and me. That kind of man would be worth knowing. Jesus is Risen, death could not keep him captive, he is alive and only a prayer away.
Your Friend in Christ, Steve.