As you can tell from my last few posts, I love rocks. A a teenager I considered becoming a geologist. I always have my eyes open for new specimens to add to my collection.
In Sunday’s Easter sermon, I was reminded that rocks or stones, are important in the Biblical story too. As for me, they can provide a focus for prayer or become memorials and reminders of the events of God in the past. They can also be stones of promise, providing pathways that connect our activities here on earth to the heavenly realm.
On Sunday, I was reminded of other aspects of stones. They can block our view and establish what seem to be impenetrable barriers to the work of God. The disciples and the women went to the tomb not in expectation of resurrection, but to weep and mourn for the hopes that seemed to have been shattered.
In the resurrection of Jesus we do not see the stone being moved away from the tomb as we do in the resurrection of Lazarus. All we see is the empty tomb and interestingly (at least in John’s account) Peter and John do not hang around long enough to see the risen Jesus.
How often I wonder does God want to roll away the stone so that we can see the full glory of the risen Christ and we don’t hang around long enough to see him?
In Sunday’s scriptures (Acts 10:39-42) I read
“And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead.
The empty tomb is not the important event of Easter, the living presence of God in the resurrected Jesus is. It wasn’t the empty tomb that transformed the disciples and the women who followed him, it was Jesus appearing to them, eating with them, interpreting the scriptures for them. They met the risen Christ in the 50 days after Easter, and it changed their lives so that they went out not just talking about the things Jesus did, but living them.
So my challenge to all of us today is: will we hang around long enough to enter into the full joy of the risen Saviour? Now that Easter Sunday is over are we back to life as usual or are we ready to encounter Jesus over the next 50 days, which is the true season of Easter, and have our lives radically changed and redirected as a result?