To have a new life, we need a new story.
The distressed women who go to Jesus’ tomb early on Easter, before they know it is Easter, return to Jesus’ other friends as delighted preachers of the resurrection. They went to the tomb to do grief work; they return home to do gospel work, telling their hope-against-hope story: he isn’t dead and sealed-up in a tomb—he’s alive and free.
The apostles (the male leaders among Jesus’ followers) scoff at them. The men regard their account as an idle tale, as nonsense born of despair and delusion. Like many men of their time (and, sadly, more than a few in ours), they tended to discredit what women said, especially if the women presumed to challenge or teach them. So, chauvinism was in play in their skepticism about the women’s story. I think there’s something else too: the story seems impossible because, strictly speaking, it’s irrational to believe that a dead person doesn’t stay dead.
Jesus’ resurrection is the center of a counter-story, an account of how things really are that overturns our usual understandings and assumptions. The Jesus story claims that life is stronger than death. Abundance overwhelms scarcity. Humility is strength. The rejected are welcome, the outcasts are included, the last are first, and the lost are found. Love is more powerful than fear.
The Jesus story is more beautiful and more liberating than the stories our culture tells us. Just because it seems impossible doesn’t mean it is impossible. There’s a part of us, I’m convinced, that yearns for it not to be a too-good-to-be-true story. We can follow that yearning. If we will, we will learn for ourselves—for the first time or again—that the Jesus story is true, the truest and best story we have.
What stories do I tell myself that keep me from experiencing the beauty, power, and hope of the Jesus story?
Living Jesus, heal my fears and tame my skepticism so that I may trust that faith, hope, and love are real, true, and endure forever. Amen.