Too many people see the empty tomb, but fail to see the presence of the risen Lord in their midst. The good news of Easter Sunday is not just that the Lord is risen, it’s that the risen Lord is calling your name, and inviting you to receive the gift of new life.
The people cheered “Hosanna!” at Christ’s entrance into the Holy City because of a archaic promise that though we are incapable of faithfulness, God remains faithful, and God will do the work to ensure death does not have the final word.
While John 3:16 is often used without context, it should be seen as an invitation to see Christ as the focus of recovery from a life that would otherwise lead to death. Recovery begins with having a vision of what new life could look like. Recovery starts by having a path set out before us.
Intervention is necessary when our way of thinking, our desires, our thoughts about right and wrong come in direct contradiction with God’s will as witnessed and proclaimed in the life, ministry, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
We begin Lent in the wilderness, because it is in our wilderness that Christ most closely declares, I walk with you … Christ too has wandered in the wilderness, and his victory is our victory, for neither death nor evil shall overcome.
Even after receiving confirmation of Christ’s identity, the disciples continued to wrangle over rank and precedence, to try and limit who had the ability to speak God’s good news to the world, and they failed to exercise the power of Christ in their daily living and ministry. Sound familiar?
Jonah wasn’t just unfaithful because he tried to run from God, he was unfaithful because he didn’t want the Ninevites to experience God’s grace. Too often we also try to withhold God’s grace from those we consider outcast, sinful, or foreign. Yet, God does not withhold grace from anyone, much to our displeasure.
In an odd twist of humanity, we enjoy watching as other people fail. Perhaps this is why we focus on Peter’s sinking into the water. But we should not be so quick to watch his demise; he did after all walk on water. There’s a lot to be learned from Peter’s brief experience defying gravity, and we might be the more faithful for focusing on his success than his failure.
Too often, we try to claim that if one is to be welcomed into the Kingdom of God, they must act, think, feel, look, and be like us. Yet, God’s will claims our limited knowledge is just that, limited. To be faithful to God’s will, we must be resilient in our humility, to acknowledge that God is definitive for justice, and that we must humble ourselves to receive God’s will as truth.
The natural response to naming one’s brokenness is grief. We mourn our inability to sustain and give ourselves life – both individually and corporately. But this is life giving. As Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn.”