Seeds for Books
John shares a story of mistaken identity. Mary and other women arrive at Jesus’ tomb on the morning of his resurrection. The synoptics recall the women conversing among themselves to the effect of “Who’s going to roll the stone away?” But when they get there, the stone is already rolled back and as one might expect they are afraid and confused. Now the synoptics and John’s gospel report that the women went into the tomb and an angel reports Jesus’ resurrection. John then fills out the story with some other details.
Mary Magdalene returns with the disciples who see the empty tomb, and as the men are leaving, she stays and weeps outside the tomb. Jesus approaches her, “‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’” As is often the case after the resurrection, Jesus is unrecognized in his risen state. She replies, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” What I love is his simple reply to her. Jesus says, “Mary” and immediately she knows her Lord. This scene is so intimate. You can sense the care Jesus has for her.
Long ago, in a holy land, the Son of God lifted His eyes and asked a dead man to walk out of his rank tomb. The dead man obliged (Jn. 11).
Many believed in Him that day.
Others ratted Him out.
There are no rules for these things. You hear the story over and over through the years and it seems so. . . obvious--that it had to happen exactly this way. But you know, there are no rules for these things.
Jesus rises from the dead and miraculously appears to the eleven (absent Thomas) in Luke 24. It’s a familiar account. But with that familiarity, we slip through the story, sliding by details, passing through nuance, the blurring speed of the bullet train blending savory detail away. For a few minutes, please slow down, pull over and take a long, deep breath of fresh mountain gospel air with me.
God merely spoke, and everything came into existence. There was nothing difficult for the Author of creation. He used no tools, no electricity, no blueprints. He used only His perfect and boundless imagination to create the sun and planets, every plant and animal, colors, sounds, light and darkness. There was a time in eternity past when there was nothing, and when the Creator simply spoke, there have been all sorts of somethings ever since. There are eight million species of animals, one hundred types of roses, and there is no end to the number of colors that exist, although people can only view about one thousand of them. Romans 1 tells us through creation, God’s eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen. From the tiniest dust mite to the largest star in the known universe, creation testifies to the immeasurable power of El Shaddai--God Almighty.
I just finished reading Captivated by Thabiti Anyabwile (a little book that packs a punch). Since reading it, I’ve been meditating for weeks on this:
Egypt lays in darkness for three days, Jerusalem for three hours. After the darkness, Egypt’s firstborn sons were killed; in Jerusalem the only begotten Son of God was slain. In Egypt, a lamb’s blood covered the doorposts of homes. In Jerusalem, the Lamb of God’s blood covered the sins of the world. (27)
The gospel is a story we rehearse. It’s something we hear and respond to. It’s something we keep in front of us. It transforms us fundamentally. In the Old Testament, this rehearsal centered on the Exodus narrative. God steps in as Redeemer and rescues His bride from Egypt.