The angels’ words to the women who arrived at the tomb on the very first Easter, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5) is pointed and instructive.
Take your mind back to the faithful few who followed Jesus. When he was crucified, it must have been devastating for them. Their hope of a better life and a future was quashed at the cross. It must have felt like a bad investment. With the death of Jesus, they could now expect no returns. They would have been left wondering why they wasted so much of their time and effort. Perhaps it is now time to go back to their old jobs or reconstruct something new for their lives and future. But love took them to the tomb on that Sunday morning and they were shocked to find the body Jesus missing and the angels proclaiming his resurrection.
A resurrected Jesus was the precursor of the principle of life that plays out in the life of a Christian. A normal human life is beset with the principle of death. Man sins and continues to sin. Defeat and desperation mark his ways. Meaning and satisfaction elude him. The principle of death is at work in him because the sinful nature controls him and his destiny. Yet, Jesus in life and now after death demonstrated the principle of life where freedom from sin, joy, peace and life reign. Those who follow him share in that principle of life as they live out their lives for him. Sure, the remnants of death still remain and pain is part and parcel of life here on earth. But life works through us because Jesus is alive! The angels’ instruction encourages us to shun the old system of death, not get disheartened by it and allow the principle of life to bloom within us. In Paul’s words,
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body” (2Corinth 4:10).
Prior to Easter, it would have been unfathomable for the disciples to conceptualize a life beyond the grave. Yet in the resurrection of Jesus, the afterlife came alive and became real, no longer something to be imagined. It is no different today. The hope of being raised with Christ is no figment of a Christian’s imagination tenuously held on to, rather a firm reality that he not only treasures but also lives for. Elsewhere Paul says,
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. (1Corinth 15:17-20).
Fixing our eyes on the physical reality that will perish, investing our lives in it and trying to find satisfaction therein is looking for the living among the dead. Yet when we fix our eyes on the eternal, we begin to truly look for the living amidst the living. And that is what Easter teaches us to do.
- A DIFFERENT JESUS
- DIVINE DESTINY