Luke said that fear seized all of them (v. 16). Of course it did—a dead man is now talking! We occasionally hear twenty-first century accounts of people who died on a surgery table and were miraculously returned to life. But those accounts are rare and often medically explainable.
This man’s body has been prepared for burial according to their customs. He is being carried to the cemetery. He was dead, then he is suddenly alive again. The fear that rises in the crowd must have been intense. But notice how they respond to this fear. They don’t instinctively run away or hide. They don’t dismiss the man as a ghost or a vision. Luke says that they glorified God (v. 16). They see the reality of what happens. They know the authenticity of this event, that this is no magic trick or sleight of hand. They realize that God has been mightily at work in this man Jesus. They celebrate this reality, as well they should.
And even without the benefit of Twitter or Facebook, Scripture reports that the word spreads quickly. Everybody is talking about Jesus and what he has done. Fear gives way to joy. Grief turns into celebration. Despair births hope. Everything is different. A dead man lives. If that can happen, then anything is possible.
How do we respond to our fears? How do we make room in our souls for joy and worship instead?
God, we so easily drift into despair when things go awry. And a lot of bad things happen in all of our lives. Help us to not lose hope. Help us celebrate all the good and wonderful ways you are with us. Amen.