April 12, 2023
By Editorial Team
The Road to Emmaus: an 1877 painting by Robert Zund. Public domain
And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Luke 24:17
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” John 20:15
On the first Easter, the entire believers were in disarray. Their life purposes were gone, their leader and God’s son (as they believed) was dead. He was hastily given a mock trial, it was more or a mob trial, given capital punishment of the time. And was tortured, publicly hanged like a thief or a criminal. His body lay in the grave bearing unimaginable wounds. They washed it with their own hands and wrapped embalming ointments and did the burial service. Probably Peter did the burial service etc, whoever.
About four years ago, they all left their jobs and businesses and set out to change the world, with a young leader, barely in his 30’s called Yeshua. He didn’t have money, or land, or an army, but was more like a goody goody Preacher. A fine gentleman, who lived a clean life, but when he preached, people were convicted and God appeared near to them. Many diseases were healed, and miracles used to take place in his prayer meetings regularly.
But this morning, he lay dead in a friends garden. It was all doom. How would they go back to their families, and neighbours. Especially Peter, what would he say now. Disband the band? Or give it some social service angle and continue. What would they preach? How would they live? How would they even face another day, these were the thoughts in their mind. What would they now tell the Jerusalem public, Peter was the leader and so answers were expected from him, and even from the others. It was all too much to take in, in 24 hours, everything changed. Till yesterday they were rolling in miracles and in the shadow of Jesus, but today breakfast also seemed painful.
But, some women decided to go early to the tomb. Even though Jesus body was embalmed with about 30kgs of ointment, mostly brought by Nicodemus, (John 20:39), the women felt they had to pound the spices and prepare mixture and do personal last rites to Jesus body. It was more a personal devotion, a last look at the body kind of which made them go to the tomb. Obviously the men were not interested in going there, so they went alone in a group of 4-5 women carrying the 10kg load etc, at day break they went and the rest is History. Jesus met Mary Madgalene, then the women, then Peter, disciples on the road to Emmaus, and then the entire gang at dinner time. I hope all of you have read these accounts fully and recreated the scenes in your minds.
I’ll just highlight two broad brush points from that day’s events.
1. Jesus met them in their sadness and unbelief: Mary was weeping outside the tomb, very emotional that they couldn’t see the body. Even that was denied. Peter and John examined the evidence and concluded he was alive and left for their homes. They were kind of puzzled, but happy that he was alive. (John 20:3-8). But Mary didn’t examine any evidence, she just wanted to weep and cry. Sometimes women are like that, “I feel like crying,I want Jesus. where is the body? Don’t talk to me about science and logic and evidence and all that.” And Jesus meets here in her sorrow and wipes away her tears. Not just women, but I am like that sometimes, Enough of the promises, where is the fulfilment. I just can’t take this faith life anymore. Where are you God? How long? (Ps 13).
Same with the disciples going back to their village Emmaus. They were really sad, and so would anyone be. and discussing logically all the events, from the beginning of his ministry, how they met him, how they believed he was the Messiah, and now this capital murder. Did corruption and murder get even God? Can a bunch of few corrupt politicians with their rowdies even extinguish the plan of God. They didn’t have the answers, but Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. (Luke 24:15). He asks them why are you sad, what things are you discussing? (v17) And he starts explaining things logically from the scriptures and they almost conclude at the end of his say half hours preaching, “Oh then he must be alive or what? And then they see him break bread and he vanishes.”
So whether we are logical like Peter and John, or emotional like Mary of Magdala we finally need Jesus to appear in our picture, and only then our doubts are resolved. So its my prayer for you and me, that Christ would come into your picture and circumstances and settle things. I don't write this with great faith, but with flickering faith. This Easter, I need him more than you.
2. Resurrection is for the body- the Church: Jesus may encourage one here and another there, but the lamp has to be lit in all our friends and family, so that a big flame will blaze. Its his body, the Church that’s important to him. He wants faith to dwell in his body, and is looking for the Revival and renewal of the Church. By the end of the Easter day, he met many people, and finally all the disciples. Probably 20 or 25 people he would have met that day. He cares for us as a group, as a family of believers. That’s why when the Holy Spirit takes Ezekiel to the valley of dry bones, and asks him to prophesy, they all come to life (Ez 37). It’s the Renewal of faith and life in the Church, that Christ cares about. Many of us seek individual blessings, but at times it is good to spend time in praying for the Church. Ruined, lost, powerless, pulpits that don’t connect to people and issues, and filled with programs, but entirely devoid of the Holy Spirit. Let's face the truth, the Church is in a very bad state and you and I are responsible for it.
3. Resurrection is for everyone, so comes the command to tell others. They too need to rise from the dead and get Eternal life. So may the Holy Spirit empower you to tell even 1 or 2 people this season about Jesus. Cross and resurrection are the two legs of salvation. Easter finally has its meaning in Pentecost. Only then the Christian story begins. What began at Calvary, has to end with the Holy spirit empowering us to tell others this good news. Ask the Lord for a measure of the Spirit. Many people wait quietly, to be filled. But the Holy Spirit comes when you read and meditate, when you intercede. It’s the scriptures that release the Spirit. The disciples held daily prayer meetings (morning and evening perhaps) for 10 days and only then the Holy Spirit came. Spend time in Bible reading and and intercession and Worship. And I believe the Father will send the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in our life journeys.
Blessed Easter. May Jesus continue to work in you and your families this season.
"Christ Arose" by 100 Voice Mass Choir
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