Questions fill the Easter air.
The women who went early to the graveyard are troubled when they see Jesus’ empty tomb. Who has unsealed it—and why? Have Jesus’ enemies stolen his body? What should they do now?
Suddenly two men in shimmering clothes stand before them. The women are terrified. Where did these men come from? How did they appear so quickly? What accounts for their shining appearance? Are they angels? (Luke 24:23 says so, but at this moment the women aren’t sure.) What will these messengers do with Jesus’ frightened friends?
The women fall to the ground, dreading what might happen next. The men ask, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (v. 5a). Notice that Luke begins the announcement of Jesus’ resurrection with a question rather than a declaration: How do you expect to find Jesus when you’re looking in the only place in the whole cosmos where he isn’t to be found—his own grave?
The men follow their question with the glad news that “He is not here, but has risen” (v. 5b). They encourage the women to remember Jesus’ promise that his death would be followed by his rising again. Apparently, grief has done to their memories what it often does to ours. It has erased the promises which could sustain them. After all, those promises now feel pointless: some things don’t change, and death is the most unchangeable reality of all. Or, is it?
Encountering these messengers burns fear’s fog from the women’s memories. New questions take shape: What if the grave has not held Jesus? What if God has reversed the irreversible? What’s possible in a world where resurrection happens?
What is the relationship between my expectations and my experiences of Jesus?
God, cause me to question my questions and doubt my doubts so I may sense your creating and resurrecting power both within and all around me. Amen.