Sometimes evil triumphs… but for a little while!
Before Easter I wrote on the first part of this title; this is the second and concluding part!
Jesus Christ is risen and alive alleluia!! However, I want to consider some personalities involved in the story of the resurrection: the Jewish leaders& the guards, the tomb & linen cloth, the Angels, Mary Magdalene, Peter and Thomas!
I presume the Jewish leaders to have been rushed to an early meeting on the first day of the week. Obviously what was so important especially when it’s the first day after the celebration after a feast such as the Passover! I imagine them in groups wondering what the issue is. Caiaphas, then clears his throat to ask for their attention and then breaks the news to them: the guards asked to protect the body of the crucified criminal Jesus reported this morning that there was an earthquake and lightening this dawn and the tomb was rolled over and out came the supposedly dead man clothed in light! Murmurs and they’re hushed. All these guards possible a quartet could not be hallucinating neither could they make such a lie since they could be put to death if the lie is discovered. Putting their heads together, they agree to bribe the guards and also promise them protection from punishment! For they knew such information in the hands of the local people will be scandalous! Doubt in the leadership could not be countenanced!
Some of us, unfortunately, have become these leaders in the Church! We feel we have the sole prerogative to protect the old and nothing new is acceptable! Those with MBAs (Me b’aha aky3 … [old guards]) will not want to listen to any new idea for the old is always good! They will scheme and kill all dreams and even go ahead to deny the existence of a dream that didn’t die! Jesus is risen – that’s the Easter message, a message of joy, a message of renewal! You may have made mistakes in the past to “crucify” Jesus by how you lived but now Jesus is alive and you are the first to receive that message – don’t hide it! Don’t deny it! Go out to preach it! Don’t allow yourself to be corrupted for the sake of honour or favours like the soldiers! You witnessed the greatest event in this world and yet you allow yourself to be silenced? Go out and shout it… let people know your experience of Jesus and preach that He is alive!
Many of us, unfortunately, like the linen and tomb are inanimate in our Christian lives! We witnessed but can’t speak because we do not live! Our hearts are not living so though people revere us for what we have seen and experienced our mouths speak not! How marvelous would it be for us to listen to the linen cloth speak of how as wrapped around the cold body of Jesus, it felt the first pulse of the beating of His dead heart! The surprise on its face as the supposedly dead man in the dark removed it from His face, how He folded the napkin used to cover his face and placed it at the pallet His body lay on! How wonderful it’ll be for the tomb to tell us of how when the world slept Angels descended and opened its door for the Son of God to walk out resplendent in the light! Alas, if only they could speak! Many of us have experience Jesus but have so many excuses why we cannot witness to Him! Many of us can’t speak because though on the outside people see us as witnesses of great things, within, we are dead! We pray no more, we reflect on the word of God no more! Our relationship with God is one of the past and nothing new! Our lives are now based on our first encounters! Our experiences have faded and gradually we are deteriorating and becoming ruins!
The Angels, beautifully created by God for His Service! How beautiful to witness such great things! They announced the birth of Jesus with so much joy; for the countdown to the greatest event in the history of humankind had begun! Were they shocked at the wickedness of the people He had been sent to save? Such that the creature will treat its Creator in such a manner? Yet as witnesses they shared this joy with those who’ll come to seek Him. I bet there was that “let me be the one to say it first” conversation! And possibly at the same time filled with joy together exclaimed their message! However, this message is met with confusion! In the Gospel of Mark [Mark 16], we are told these ladies fled in trembling and with bewilderment! They were even afraid to speak about it! It took a personal encounter with Jesus for Mary to believe! Sometimes, we are disappointed that people do not have the same joy and passion as we do in the Church. We forget some of us are like the angles of a “higher frequency” than others. We all can’t jump with excitement to the good news because for some of us we need some time for the news to settle in. We need more evidence. So please the angels, when you announce the good news and we are all not jumping with you, don’t be disappointed, don’t write us off, rather walk with us as Raphael did with Tobit. Gradually, we will grow to become Mary the Mother of God.
Mary Magdalene woke up early and with the items for preparation of the body of the dead started the journey possibly to meet with others. They realized they didn’t plan well because they forgot the huge boulder which had to be rolled away for them to have access to the body of Jesus! Now they get there and the boulder has been rolled, curious? They draw nearer peak into the tomb and “a young man” in white tells them He is risen and gives them a message.
I think they had seen enough and start running away! Mary Magdalene runs to Peter and John to report. She is probably convinced it’s a ploy by the Jewish leaders to go and dump the body of Jesus somewhere and also tease them with Jesus’ words! She returns with Peter and John and stays outside as Peter goes into the tomb to inspect and come to terms with what’s happening. She sees a man and she thinks that’s the gardener! Why do we always assume positions for others? Many a time you’re treated right according to the title attached to your name, the way you dress, or the vehicle you drive! Not everyone in the garden is a gardener! Some are Jesus! Many of us do not recognize Jesus in others! We don’t recognize Jesus in our spouses, our parents, our children, and our neighbour! By divine providence, Jesus reveals Himself to her! Jesus reveals Himself each day to us! Love your neighbour as yourself for He is that neighbour! May this Easter help is to recognize Jesus in the next person we see!
Peter quite old and I’m sure he is asking himself what he has gained after three years following this young man! Okay, I’m going back to fishing! Was a nice experience, yeah, but what next? I couldn’t even stand up for this Man in front of a small girl! That’s quite embarrassing, right? For some of us, we can’t accept failure and if at the first attempt we fail, then that’s enough! Many people have become pew warmers in our church just because they failed the first time! They didn’t get a good welcome, or no one was interested in their idea or they didn’t deliver to their satisfaction! My dear, it’s not about you! It’s not about the many times you have tried and failed! There’s a story that when the persecution in Rome started Peter was fleeing and He met Jesus rather heading towards Rome. When Peter asked Jesus where He was headed to, Jesus responded: “I’m going to Rome to die!” So Peter returned and was crucified. We will all continue to fail in our Christian lives, however, they should not boulders blocking our steps but rather boulders we step on to reach higher heights! Jesus doesn’t care about the number of times we fail but the number of times we rise up! When we’re down, we only need to lift up our eyes and there we’ll see Jesus stretching His hand to lift us up. We’ll be surprised He’s been waiting all along!
My final Easter person is Thomas! Many refer to him unfortunately as “The Doubting Thomas” but I just have a liking for him I can’t explain! So Jesus just had a narrow escape in Judea and now He wants to go back there. Ah probably the perfume was too much that it had made Him forget or probably he had “too much” at the party, so Jesus is reminded, and His reply is about stumbling in the dark because you do not have a light? Tells them, Lazarus is asleep and He is going to wake him up! Still, the disciples don’t understand until He tells them plainly Lazarus is dead and He adds He’s glad He wasn’t there! Geez… Thomas then says “let us also go, so we may die with Him”! Yeah, Jesus would have said in His head, but not now! Was Thomas being brave or being sarcastic? He was the one who will tell Jesus “Boss, we don’t know where you’re going, so how do we come there?” and this will elicit Jesus’ answer in John 14:6 as He being the way, the truth and the life! This man as the disciples hide in fear is ok going into town. Probably, he has to continue with his business after all Jesus is dead.
What next? Probably, after rumours within their circle get to him that Jesus is alive, he probably goes to verify but finds the disciples still hiding! Ah, if the man is alive, why are you still hiding? Simple, He only needs to show Himself and the people will believe in Him and they don’t need to hide. So why isn’t Jesus proving to the Jewish authorities and people that He is alive? Then boom Jesus makes sure that the next time He’s appearing to the disciples Thomas is present! The shock on his face dissipates into complete and unwavering faith! Thomas is the first to publicly confess Jesus as “Lord and God”! For some of us, our lives will only be real when we see! So we are out there seeking evidence to back our faith! Faith comes before the evidence! Jesus says blessed are they who believe though they have not seen! We think we are being true to ourselves and yes it’s good to be true to yourself and others however, this should not be a hindrance to our faith!
Despite the weaknesses and limitations of all these people and objects, through their testimonies today you and I have the word of God! Jesus arose from death more than 2000 years ago, our commemoration should be an opportunity to reignite that passion and faith we have! May we find a stronger desire to live more for Jesus and that people will come to believe more in Him because we are loving our God with all our strength, all our might and all our soul and loving our neighbours as ourselves!
That’s not being a fanatic but being lights guiding the feet of others back to Jesus!
In this period where it looks like God has abandoned us, this is the time our Christianity should be spreading the love of Christ! This is the time to share in the paid of others! This is the time to help others with the heavy loads they carry about! This is the time to build our families into the Church! And this is how evil is defeated! We do not need a pastor to tell us what to do for we already know and now is the time to put all we have learned into practice! You love your neighbour, then make sure you only go out for essentials if not stay home! You love your neighbour, wash your hands regularly with soap under running water! You love your neighbour don’t use this as an opportunity to hike prices of goods and services so others can’t afford it! You love your neighbour when you buy to get what you need for this period and not hoard! Share with those who can’t afford it!
Happy Easter and we continue to pray for an end to this pandemic and that a vaccine or treatment is found soon! Amen!
Source: Linus Kweku Labik