And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16:8
We read this story and wonder why they would run away from the empty tomb. Perhaps we think them foolish, all because we read the texts and understand Jesus’ talking about this moment time and again. But, before we get too judgmental, let’s remember they were living it while we’re only reading about it. There’s a huge difference between the two.
How many times have we been involved in something and were told repeatedly the outcome? Then, when it actually happened, we were surprised. Whether it’s being told the due date of a project, tax day, or the loss of a loved one to an illness, we’re sometimes surprised. Our being told, for whatever reason, was either forgotten or set aside as something not to think on.
Over the years, I’ve become more and more sympathetic towards the disciples in what sometimes seems to be blind ignorance. But, as the richness of the scriptures unfolds into a living story, I see myself most likely behaving the same way! Clamor seems to have been present whenever Jesus went into a public setting, and that’s not always the optimal learning experience. Certainly, there were times the disciples were in a quiet setting, with Jesus teaching, but we all know how our minds are, having wandering thoughts as we sit in our tiredness. The disciples experienced the same, I’m sure.
I imagine this to be an Easter celebration few to none have experienced before. We’re told not to congregate, keeping our distance. This is exactly the opposite of what we desire. But, in our experience, maybe we’ve moved away from what Easter really is. Our celebrations surrounding the resurrection of Jesus have perhaps shifted from focus on Jesus to focus on celebration. Now that we’ve celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, maybe we can realign our Easter back to a focus on Jesus, and probe the question ‘who is Jesus to us?’ We’ve read and heard these Gospel accounts of Jesus, sometimes being told who he is. Remember, the relationship sought of us by God’s son is a personal one, which sounds a lot like we need to figure out who this Perfect Man is. As we reflect on our experience this Easter, this may be the perfect time for us to celebrate who we are in Jesus and what he IS to us!
By Rich Obrecht