He is . . . missing?!?

“He is RISEN!” Response: “He is RISEN, indeed!”  This prompt and response is common at Easter, but the text for chapel on Easter Tuesday at CUI, John 20:1-9, suggests a different exchange.  The passage records Mary, Peter, and John visiting the empty tomb but no appearance of Jesus Himself. According to the text, “He is MISSING! He is MISSING indeed!”

There are at least two parallels to the empty tomb in our life.

Sometimes we are like those who opposed Jesus.  We want our will to be done and by self-assertion force the Word of God into silence, like a body in a tomb. But when we return to retrieve God from where we left Him captive, He’s not there.

Sometimes we are like those who were overwhelmed with grief from disappointment and disillusionment. Like anyone, they loved having Jesus defend them, feed them, heal them, and even raise them from the dead. But our preoccupation with God’s material remedies keep us from remembering that the point of those remedies is to reveal God’s redeeming work for the soul and to verify His eternal promises. In this way, when God doesn’t do what we expect, we lament or worry in disappointment as if Jesus was dead and buried. When we return to lament our disappointment, Jesus is not there.

When it comes to our self-assertion or self-indulgent disappointment, He is missing, He is missing indeed! So where is Jesus? He has been to Hell to demonstrate His triumph over the devil, demons, and wicked, unbelieving souls (1 Peter 3:19).  He is taking time to reveal Himself gradually over the course of Easter day, first to Mary, then to the two men on the road to Emmaus, then (but not until evening of Easter day) to the ten apostles hiding behind locked doors for fear of the Jews.

We were never intended to be confronted and left with John 20:1-9 alone. On the contrary, God’s grace and Word envelope us from before creation and through eternity. Thus, I have attached a harmony of the four Gospels’ narrative of the resurrection of Jesus as the gift of Easter and remedy of Jesus’ rising from the dead, living and reigning to all eternity. God bless you through this EasterTIDE.

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