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April 1, 2009

We know that the Romans and Jews took tremendous security precautions to protect against potential fraud and lies by the disciples of Jesus - to make sure that Jesus stayed dead and in the tomb.  Apparently He didn’t.

Early in the morning of the first day of the week the women arrive at the tomb.  They’ve come with spices and perfumes ready to complete the preparation of Jesus’ body for burial.  When they arrive they find the stone rolled away from the tomb and the body of Jesus missing.

Two angels are there to state the obvious.  “He’s not here.  He has risen.  Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” (Luke 24:5b,6a)  The Bible tells us that at that point the women understood the reality of what Jesus had been trying to tell them about His death and resurrection.

A  series of events unfold.  Jesus revealing Himself to two disciples on the road to the village of Emmaus.  Jesus coming to the disciples where they’re hiding, cowering, mourning, and hopeless.  Jesus showing them that He is alive.  Thomas having his doubts removed.  We know that thousands witnessed the resurrected Jesus.  The lives of the disciples were changed forever.  Encounters with the living God.

It is important for us to understand that none of the proofs for the resurrection (i.e. the failed precautions of the Romans and Jews and the empty tomb) are essential for the resurrection.  It didn’t take the overpowering of the Roman guard to allow Jesus to be resurrected.  At the moment God appointed Jesus leaves behind his burial clothes to be found by the women.  Jesus passes out of that tomb without ever needing the stone to be rolled away.  It was rolled away to let the disciples in.

Jesus could have gone directly from His resurrection to heaven.  But. He didn’t.

As Jesus moves from encounter to encounter His purpose is not the establishing of evidence for what is an incontrovertible fact of history.  His purpose is to bring the reality of His resurrection into the lives of His disciples.

The resurrection isn’t about crosses and tombs and flowers and pilgrimages and processions.  The resurrection is about the power of the living Jesus entering into the deepest need of our lives.  Our need to believe that He is alive is because we are people who are in great need of what Jesus offers to us.

Too often we seek what is dead.  Too often we see suffering and corruption and sorrow and despair as the only reality.  Even as a Christian who knows better, too often our focus shifts from God to the harshness of this world.  It is very easy to live without hope.

Someone has said, “Resurrection power works best in a graveyard.”  How greatly we need God’s resurrection power in our lives!  How greatly we need to know God’s forgiveness.  To be freed from guilt.  To experience His healing and restoration.  To live within the life He offers us today and forever.

The words “He has risen” remind us of the reality and power of Jesus’ resurrection which we can experience in every circumstance of our lives.

In whatever we’re going through in life may we turn towards God:  in prayer seeking Him, in faith choosing to commit our lives to His keeping, in our actions following after Him.

And this last thought.  How many of those around us need to know the resurrection power of the living God brought into their lives?  May we help them to see past the trappings of Easter to the realty of the resurrection.  May we be bold to share the hope that we have because He has risen.