Sunday, April 16, 2017

Go tell my brothers (John 20)

 There's nothing pretty about a dead body.
Yes initially, there can be a sense of peace, with the completion of suffering, and the face may loose the look of age or pain. But absent life is soon followed by decay, and fowl smell, unless steps are taken. Hence refridgeration, embalming or other practices followed by burial or other accepted forms of more permanently dealing with a corpse.

Mary was upset and confused with the absent body of Jesus. She assumed someone had moved it, and she was willing to move it back herself, if she were told where it was.
How a woman, single-handedly would drag a male corpse any distance is hard to imagine, but Mary, in her grief and confusion, was more than willing.
Why was she so early at the grave site in any case?
Different people grieve differently.
Part of her coping was to visit the site and possibly do some upkeep and some personal grieving.
It was only 3 days. The grief was fresh/raw/unsettled. Her love for Jesus was genuine and now his untimely death cut into her heart.

Resurrection was far beyond anything she could ever think of, or imagine.

Today, resurrection is far beyond what we ever think of or imagine.

We celebrate Easter, but our celebration, despite our genuine faith, is somewhat ceremonial, cultural, prescripted, routine, rushed, distracted, and possibly lacking in the fear, shock and wonder of what the actual resurrection caused at the time.
In the discipline of our faith, we take some time at some point to meditate on the truth and significance of Jesus rising, and the Holy Spirit evokes, edifies, provides and blesses these moments.

Jesus did not appear as a zombie; lifeless yet somehow alive.
Nor as an Angel, glowing with heaven.
He was mistaken for a gardener.

Now I'm not sure what a gardener looked like in those days. But today, someone working in a public cemetery as a gardener, would probably be wearing workboots, work pants and a fleuro top, with a hat for sun-protection.
Image result for parks and gardens worker

Not exactly an expected picture of holiness or resurrection.

He was not immediately recognizable.

I have experienced this, having aged and become bald, people who haven't seen me in quite a while sometimes need a second look, or to hear my voice before they recognized me.

Death and resurrection had changed Jesus. I won't say it aged him, but it did something. Maybe he appeared more alive and healthy than ever before. Certainly not a zombie. Certainly not a ghost.

And he did not leave his body behind. This is interesting.

He had transformed, but not regenerated. His earthly body, started to breath again, the heart started to pump again, the brain regained consciousness. Warmth and colour and life returned where there was a cold, stiff, dead corpse.

The linen wrapping was cast aside, and other clothing was in place. ? heavenly clothing, who knows. Gardner clothing?
 What did God wear as he walked in the garden in the cool of the day in Genesis 3? Maybe he also wore Gardener clothing.

The last interesting point I will make is that Jesus had a special part to his message for Mary and the others who saw Jesus. "Go tell my brothers".

Tell them what? That he has risen from the dead.  That everything he had worked towards was now completed. His lifetime goal was achieved. His battle for the world was now won. He had entered death and defeated it. His gift of his body for the forgiveness of sins had been accepted, and sins had indeed been forgiven.

Tell my brothers.

You mean those weak followers who abandoned you in your time of need?

Tell my brothers.

What? You haven't moved on from those ordinary fishermen? Haven't you now graduated to heavenly beings, angels, God, heaven and all that stuff ?

Go tell my brothers.

So you are still our brother, even though you are the conqueror of death and sin?

Go tell my brothers.

Jesus was not now overwhelmed by his own success, he was not now moving on from his humble background with his ordinary fallible disciples.
He still identified with his troupe of floundering commoners.
He still loved them.
He was actually bursting with excitement for them to know of his victory.

When something really great happens, who do you want to tell?

The people you love the most.

Go tell my brothers.

At this point in his resurrected life, he wanted to share the joy and strong heavenly confidence of resurrection, with his beloved earthly family.

Things had changed but not his reason for suffering, dying and rising.

To save those he loved.

Which includes us today.

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