This morning I was preparing for church online and started looking around Facebook at the Scriptures, testimonies, and reflections about Easter. But for me, Luke 24:5-6 is my favorite Easter passage.
5 The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. Then the men asked, “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!
Why do you look among dead things for what is alive?
Lately, it seems dead things have a stronger scent than anything living. The stench of pandemic death is brutal. The death of those known and loved. The death of dreams the young cannot fulfill. The death of security around the globe leaving people desperate and afraid. The death of joy in a new season and all that comes with spring. The death of purpose as people are confined without connection and opportunity to live for more. You may feel surrounded. Or consumed.
1 Corinthians 15 makes us face the reality of death with two questions.
“O death, where is your sting?”
That’s a question where the answer could easily start with, “Are you kidding me?” Death is unbiased and all-inclusive. COVID-19 alone gives us a rising daily body count. Not to mention all the sickness, violence and disease that has not slowed down just because we have.
Where is death’s sting? I can show you, personally. I can take you to a cemetery on Harrison Road in my hometown. Up the hill. Just beyond where 3 crosses stand in the middle of a graveyard. Walk up the hill from the path and you’ll find a marker that tells you that’s where my father is. But that’s a lie. What cancer didn’t do to his body, time and elements have carried over. But only if you’re looking among the dead. If you’re looking for the living, everything changes. His spirit is forever alive with Christ. His memory is always alive in our hearts.
There are only two ways to visit a cemetery. Filled with hope, or empty of it. And the Shout of Easter says we can go to graves with living memories and living hope.
But the other question answered by the Shout of Easter.
“O death, where is your victory?”
Matthew 28:6 “6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
Losing is bad. Defeat is humiliating. Death, darkness, and grave are not only defeated but humiliated; their purpose completely annihilated by Jesus. You can stand in the middle of any cemetery. You can stand in the middle of any crisis and all the time the Shout of Easter says, “not here.” Not anymore.
The Shout of Easter is a call to everyone, instilling in weary hearts how dead things have no place here anymore. Graves and circumstances have no power or victory. Resurrection commands defeat.
The power of the resurrection of Jesus brings miracles now and the hope of the great and final resurrection where all will be made new. The dead things will not last. The resurrected things will last. Forever.
What has been surrendered to Jesus will obey his call to “come forth” from death. The Shout of Easter begins today and grows louder each day. Dead things are no longer here, but replaced with what is resurrecting and living and growing again to fill what was empty. Life is here.
Purpose comes to life here.
Joy comes to life here.
Security comes to life here.
Dreams come to life here.
Those known and loved come to life here.
Whoever and whatever is submitted to Jesus is found in the promise of resurrection. Resurrection says all is found “not here,” but “in Him.”
A friend and her husband visited Jerusalem a few years ago. This morning she posted a photo of their visit to the Garden Tomb to show it was empty. I vote we rename the spot. A tomb is where someone is buried, but no one is buried there. Now it is empty space in a rock. You can call it a tourist attraction or a testimony, but what was dead is alive. What is alive is “not here.”
Every heart needs and wants something sure to last. Why look among dead things for the One who is very much alive?
He is risen! He is risen, indeed!!!