Why Look for the Living among the Dead?
By: Chip Jackson | April 21
And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
It is early morning. The night sky is turning purple as stars fade in the orange hues rising from the east. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary, the mother of James, make their way to the tomb of Jesus. These women share a common grief, born out of common trauma they experienced two days earlier. As the lifeless body of Christ was let down from the Cross, it was into the arms of these women. And now they are the first to come to the tomb to complete their mourning rituals.
Often in the Bible, it is early morning that we can find God at work, making Himself known, making new revelations, and surprising His people. This Sunday is no different. As the women approach the tomb, they are surprised, and their focus pivots.
Pivot #1: The stone placed to prohibit entry to the tomb is rolled away.
Pivot #2: Upon entry into the tomb, there is no body.
Pivot #3: Two men, as stunning and brilliant as lightning flashes are standing beside them. Literally shocked, the women fall to the ground in reverent fear.
Pivot #4: The men inquire as to why the women would look for the living among the dead. Living? Jesus was dead when lowered into their arms. He was dead when He was placed in this same tomb on Friday.
Pivot #5: He who was dead, is now risen and fully alive!
Pivot #6: The two men call the women to remember what Jesus said. They do and they believe!
Pivot #7: The women leave the tomb and head back to Jerusalem and begin to tell the Easter story… Jesus died on Friday … was buried on Saturday … is now alive on Sunday and making Himself known!
As I read Luke’s account of the Resurrection I smile. I smile when I think of friends like Mary, Joanna, and Mary, who will be the last to let me down, and the first to believe in me. I smile as I think of the pivots I’ve made. Pivots from death to life, from the Cross to the Resurrection, from fear to belief, from grief to joy, from feelings to Truth.
Recently on a trip home to Auburn, I returned to the cemetery where my father was laid to rest last April. I didn’t go to spend time with him, or to sit and reflect upon what once was and is no more. No, I went to be reminded that he is not there, that he is more alive than I am at this moment. I went to remember Jesus’ words, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26) Yep! I believe!
As the lightning angels told the women that they would not find the living among the dead, neither will we. This Easter Sunday morning perhaps you are reading this devotional early, as the night sky turns purple and stars fade in the orange hues rising from the east. Life, full life, eternal life is the gift from on high offered to us today. Perhaps this is the day to make a pivot. You know, the one you have been putting off. What you are looking for, you won’t find in the familiar, worn patterns and routines of the normal. Eventually, that leads to death. What you are looking for is not a what, but a Who! And, He is living! And your next best step this Easter is to pivot to Him. Believe! Receive! Celebrate the Living Christ today, and in so doing, you might find yourself – surprised.