Happy Easter! The days of fasting are over; Lent has run its course and today, we rejoice! Dressed in our Sunday-best, prepared to celebrate with loved-ones with a feast, it’s easy to feel happy. It’s time for Easter-egg hunts, flowers and Alleluias. No matter how many times we have experienced it, the Easter season always feels refreshing and new!
Despite these feelings of goodwill, because we’ve all heard the story of the resurrection so many times, it can become commonplace. We simply tune-out when the Gospel-writers share the big news—we’ve heard it all before! Yes, we know Jesus celebrated the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, that He died on Good Friday and that the tomb is now empty. We’ve remembered His Passion, now let’s take a moment to step back, to pause before today’s parties. Let’s take a look at the Gospel again and hear the story anew:
In the Gospel of John, before day break Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb. She arrives only to find that the stone has been removed and she hastily runs to tell Simon Peter. By putting ourselves into the scene, we can see how disconcerting this event would be for her! When she finds the Apostles, she cries out to them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.” (John 20:2) Peter and John run to the tomb. Again, it takes little imagination to see how their hearts must have been pounding, their heads swirling with theories as to what has happened. When they see the burial cloths, they believed.
What Do You Think?
It begs the question, if we were there, what would we have concluded? Or an even more pertinent question, what do we conclude today when confronted with the empty tomb?
Do we reason that Jesus has been “taken from the tomb” as Mary Magdalene supposes? Do we reach the conclusion that He is risen? Do we even know what we think? The Gospel message of Easter is not merely a news-story, no matter how sensational a story it is. No, Easter is supposed to impact our lives.
If we stop and ask ourselves these questions, we are confronted with a most astounding choice—either Jesus is who He says He is or He is a liar; either He is the Son of God, or He has deceived us; either He is risen from the dead, or it is a terrible hoax played on mankind for some sinister purpose.
Who Is Jesus?
This is the question that the empty tomb forces us to answer: who is Jesus? It is certainly more comfortable to sit on the sidelines and to watch this drama unfold with other characters taking on the roles. If we stop and ask ourselves that fundamental question—who is Jesus?—then everything about our lives should be affected by the answer.
“Either Jesus is who He says He is or
He is a liar; either He is the Son of God,
or He has deceived us.”
It may be easier to smile and go throughout the day enjoying the ham dinner then wrestle with these ideas, but there is no escaping this reality—the tomb is empty.
So today, as we bask in the good- feelings of the Easter season (and we rightfully should), let us also take a moment to stand before the empty tomb. Let us take a silent-moment and ask ourselves, just who is Jesus? May the grace and love of the Risen-One fill our hearts today and always!