I did a search recently about how people searched for information on the Resurrection. Sheer curiosity. Ever do a search on how people search…? I know – I’m a nerd, I admit it. You ought to see my top 5 Strengths Finder traits.
Honestly, most of the searches were about the “How” of the resurrection: “How did the resurrection happen?” But “How” questions are more science-y questions – practical stuff. There is power in asking and answering “how” questions to be sure, but it may not be the right way to ask every question.
Not surprisingly, responses to that “How did the Resurrection happen?” search question was essentially lots of supposition and head shaking but no real answers.
Because Scripture is pretty blunt about it: The resurrected Jesus had a body that was recognizably made of human flesh. Doubting Thomas made that point clearly: “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe”. Later, when Thomas encountered Jesus, His body bore those very wounds that Thomas could touch.
Scripture, though, is not interested in the “how” question. Yes, of course the Resurrection event is amazing and perplexing, mostly because the moment of the Resurrection itself happened offstage. Scripture is, however, very interested in a different question: not “how”, but “Who?” Who is this, coming back to us, crossing the line between life and death so completely unexpectedly?
Easter, with all its questions about the Resurrection, is about Who Jesus is — and it is also about us and about our loved ones and our response to Him.
I recently lost a dear friend to ALS. There were only 4 of us at his funeral – his wife and a few closest friends, even though I had not seen him for more than 30 years. I was surprised to be asked, but also honored – and at that funeral, I felt like I was standing at a boundary between life and death with a directness I had never really experienced before. Somehow this funeral marked a passage across to another place, going on before me. Here, for me as a believer, resurrection was not a theoretical matter.
Because of Easter, we know Who it is we face across that boundary. Who receives this loved one whom we accompany to the boundary. Who will eventually receive you and me when it is our time to cross over. About the Who that created natural law, and therefore the only Who who can therefore overturn natural law to produce the kind of miracles Jesus did. Including the Resurrection.
The Who whom we see, when we look with the eyes of Easter, is Jesus Christ, the One who has gone before us. We see Him as we come to know we are part of the Body of Christ, the church. We see Him as we come to know the One whom we have praised, sung to and of whom we have studied, wrestled with, worshipped, doubted, believed, wondered about, failed, ignored and sought out. We see Him as we come to know that He looks like those who have loved us in ways that have embodied God’s love and grace, beloved by Jesus Christ and therein part of Christ’s love for us.
Questions of how the Resurrection occurred persist. Answers to those questions are proposed, examined and countered constantly. Books on the questions are steady sellers for publishers.
But the better question for us to dwell on, meditate on, devour, is – Who the Resurrected One is for us, daily. Who is it that we face at this boundary of life and death? Easter is the affirmation that it is Jesus Christ, the One who has gone before and is present now and will be forever more.
Resurrection blessings, friends.