Easter is a big story. So big it is unbelievable. It is hard to comprehend not just for us reading about it 2000 years later but even for those involved.
The women show up at the tomb and can’t believe their eyes. They are still reeling from the execution of their hope. They weren’t expecting his death, they certainly were not expecting his rising again. Not like this.
They run to the disciples who are hiding in fear for their lives and report all they had seen. The Men can’t believe their ears. Luke records them saying they thought the women sounded like they were speaking nonsense. I am sure they are thinking this was some sick joke. So they run to the tomb and see this thing that has happened. Later that night Jesus appears to most of them and they believe their ears and eyes.
But Thomas was not there. By the time he arrives the risen Jesus was gone. Imagine how he felt as everyone was telling him all about what they had seen and heard. It reminds me as a teenager hanging out with friends after a great movie-only you were home babysitting. Thomas can’t believe what he is told. A week later Jesus appears and he believes. Jesus tells him he is blessed because he saw and believed, but there will be those who will not see and still choose to believe. John ends his gospel by saying that all of it was written down so that we may believe, and by believing experience resurrection hope.
Resurrection is happening all around us everyday. To believe in resurrection is to believe in surprise. Life were it shouldn’t be. Hope were it shouldn’t be. N.T. Wright says “Resurrection is a way of saying that death is overthrown, and with that overthrow the power of those who depend on it is gone.” Those who depend on hate and fear and religious rhetoric and control…their power is gone. Jesus rises as the new king of a new kingdom and a new social order. For those who believe, we live it into a reality everyday. Resurrection isn’t just for life after living, it is for living while alive.
What does it mean to believe in a God of resurrection, a God of life, a God of Surprise. It means nothing is only as we see it. If you worship this God of resurrection there will be times you won’t believe your eyes, or your ears, or your friends…Because believe it or not this kind of hope is unbelievable….I wouldn’t want it any other way.