Defeating the last enemy

On Easter morning the disciples’ GRIEF turned to JOY! It was something that Jesus had promised (John 16v20) but only on Easter Sunday did they realise what he meant!

GRIEF is energy sapping, the emotion of bereavement. On the third day after Jesus’ death the disciples had such heavy hearts. Their world had collapsed. Events replayed in their minds: his sombre words; his earnest prayer in Gethsemane; his arrest; a rigged trial; his torture and execution. A huge void was left. He’d been everything to them: a trusted friend, their wise teacher and a leader like no other who had washed their smelly feet. But now he was gone. Truly he was led like a lamb to the slaughter.

The religious leaders had objected to how he’d undercut their own traditions about how to keep the Law. They objected to claims that made God his Father. They demanded a sign to prove his divine authority to bring such sweeping changes. Jesus’ reply to their demand shocked them: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2v19). They were aghast: how could he destroy the temple that took 46 years to build? It was the symbolic heart of their moral and legal life. How could he rebuild it in three days! To ensure that we as readers know what was going on John adds: “But the temple he had spoken of was his body” (John 2v20). We have to read the end of the story back into this event.

Jesus had been dead three days, by Easter Sunday. He was seen alive by many eyewitnesses. He ate, talked and walked with his disciples: their GRIEF turned to JOY! All began to fall into place, especially that bit about the temple: “After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words Jesus had spoken” (John 2v22). The very heart of worship was no longer in one place, but in one PERSON.  If you want to meet with God, then come to the risen Christ! We have life in his name.

Jesus turns GRIEF to JOY. The fact that Christ is risen is like a bright light in a world overshadowed by death. The resurrection declares that Jesus is the Son of God who paid the price for our forgiveness to reconcile us to God and to give us a living hope.

HAPPY EASTER!                Paul Kingman