John 20: 1-9
Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance.
She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, breathlessly panting, “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself.
Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.
Three key lessons follow from the disquieting fact of the Resurrection. First, this world is not all there is. The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead shows as definitively as possible that God is up to something greater than we had imagined. We don’t have to live as though death were our master and as though nihilism were the only coherent point of view. We can, in fact, begin to see this world as a place of gestation toward something higher, more permanent, more splendid.
Second, the tyrants know that their time is up. Remember that the cross was Rome’s way of asserting its authority. But when Jesus was raised from the dead through the power of the Holy Spirit, the first Christians knew that Caesar’s days were, in point of fact, numbered. The faculty lounge interpretation of the Resurrection as a subjective event or a mere symbol is exactly what the tyrants of the world want, for it poses no real threat to them.
Third, the path of salvation has been opened to everyone. Jesus went all the way down, journeying into pain, despair, alienation, even godforsakenness. He went as far as you can go away from the Father. Why? In order to reach all those who had wandered from God. In light of the Resurrection, the first Christians came to know that, even as we run as fast as we can away from the Father, we are running into the arms of the Son.
Let us not domesticate these still-stunning lessons of the Resurrection. Rather, let us allow them to unnerve us, change us, and set us on fire.