Reflecting on the Resurrection
by Sam Leopold
"But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. They said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' She said to them, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.' Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?' Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, 'Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary.' She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, 'Rabboni!' (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, 'Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to My brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord'—and that He had said these things to her.
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, 'Peace be with you.' When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.'
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord.' But he said to them, 'Unless I see in His hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into His side, I will never believe.'
Eight days later, His disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand, and place it in My side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.' Thomas answered Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Have you believed because you have seen Me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.'”
Like a Monday after a week of vacation, the day after your birthday, or after the honeymoon period of a new job or relationship, we are tempted to let our hearts grow dull to the truth and beauty of the resurrection after a week of Easter preparation and celebration. This past Sunday, we celebrated the truth of the resurrection as handed down to us by the church, who witnessed it first-hand. We opened ourselves up to the beauty of who Jesus is so that He may move us from the dull reality of our sin and misery of life without Him to the abundant life we have in Him. The truth and beauty of Jesus have been moving His Church since its inception, but the question that comes to mind this week is will we continue to allow this truth and beauty to move us?
This is why God provides us the means of grace to continually remember what He did for us on the cross. The ministry of the Word, worshiping God regularly, and fellowship with other believers are all ways that God reminds us of the Easter truth on a regular basis. But one practice that may not immediately come to mind as a way to remember the truth and beauty of the resurrection is to remember our "sentness" as those who follow Christ.
Sentness is one of the themes of John’s gospel, and as Jesus appears to those who have been closest to Him in His earthly life, we see the culmination of this theme in some of His last words to His disciples before He ascends into heaven.
“‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I am sending you.’ And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:21-22)
Our sentness reminds us of the truth and beauty of the Resurrection because it first starts with worship of who Jesus is, the sent One. In order to be sent, we need to remember that Jesus was sent first by the Father, AND, in the same way, Jesus is sending us. Jesus is sending us to our families, to our neighborhoods, to our jobs, to our community organizations, and for some missionaries, to the nations. And as Jesus sends us, He also gives us God Himself in the gift of the Holy Spirit being with us.
As you seek to find ways to remember Jesus and what He did for you on the cross, don’t forget the power that comes with remembering your sentness. Jesus paid the price of His life to be sent and to send us, therefore, let us honor Him with how He sends us today into a city and world that need Him.