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Looking for Jesus in all the wrong places

the tomb is empty

the tomb is empty

As an absent-minded child, I frequently misplaced things. I can remember my mother’s constant refrain each time I told her I had lost something; “where did you last leave it?” I always thought this was a silly question, for if I knew where I last left it, it wouldn’t be lost! I’ve since realized that what mum was trying to do was to get me to retrace my steps, in order to relocate whatever it was I had misplaced.

Now whilst this is typically an effective way to find what has been lost, surprisingly, our Easter Gospel reading indicates that this is not always the case. The women who went to the tomb to anoint with spices and ointments the body of their Lord, whom they had lost to the cruel cross of crucifixion, took this exact approach, they retraced their steps back to where they saw the tomb in which the body of Jesus was laid (cf. Luke 23:55-56), but to their astonishment, the body was gone!

Amidst their perplexity, two angels appeared and posed a question which put everything into the right perspective, ‘why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again’ (vs. 5a-7).

2000 years after these earthshattering events, many are still looking for Jesus in all the wrong places. For example, there are those who regard Jesus as one of the greatest religious teachers who has ever lived, even as one who lived the most influential life the world had even know, but then he died, and that was that. This simply will not do. Jesus is not dead, for he has risen and his resurrection confirms that he is not merely an historical figure, but the living Lord over the entire universe.

After numerous other failed attempts to locate the so-called ‘real Jesus’, it is not surprising to find him right back where we left him, as the risen, living Lord of the universe, just as the eyewitness accounts of the New Testament testify to. It seems my mum was right after all.

Luke 24:1-12

The Resurrection of Jesus

24But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,3but when they went in, they did not find the body.*4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.5The women* were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men* said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.*6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’8Then they remembered his words,9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.*

1 Corinthians 15:19-26

19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.*21For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;22for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.23But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.24Then comes the end,* when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.25For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.26The last enemy to be destroyed is death.