Tuesday, April 23, 2019. Easter celebrations are over, some of us are still in school holidays, others go back to work. Did you have some relaxing time with your family? In the center of Europe, the weather was lovely and nice, with sunny warm days over the weekend.
What is your view to the Easter story? What is your involvement? Perhaps you are part of some church, perhaps you have celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus? Or you are more critical of these things. Perhaps you have your deep problems with the church and its activities.
What has happened …
What has happened at Easter? What has happened about 2000 years ago, when the disciples of Jesus suddenly realized that he is alife. We hear stories which make us think a lot, since all things are different here from what we would expect. Let us, for example, look into Luke 24, where the story of two disciples on the road to Emmaus is reported. They talked to a stranger, and then realized that it has been Jesus:
33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. (from Luke 24)
A similar thing happened to Peter himself, as written in the the Gospel of John 21. Again, Jesus is standing there, but they only know that it is him when he commands with words they know well, and when they realize that his story continues.
What does it mean? What are the conclusions which you can draw for today? What has happend that time? How to live today, how to believe today?
The resurrection never meant to be just some continuation. It was never meant to be just a simple 'coming back to life'. No, it is not. It is different from what happened to Lazarus, who was raised by Jesus, but then died again later. It is different from what happened to other humans, who were brought back from death and illness. They all died again.
Here, we find something different. The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of a new creation. It is the beginning of something different. It is not completely separate from what was before. It is still Jesus. But he has a new body, and his appearance is different from what it was before.
The whole story IS strange. Jesus is showing his hands to Thomas, and they can see the signs of the nails and the cross. He can be touched, he is eating. Yet, it seems that he is not bound by physical things any more. The wonders which the disciples have seen during his life time now continue in an even more miraculous way.
We cannot claim that we can explain what happens here. Scientists will doubt it, and the stories are challenging enough that you can understand if many of them will turn away shaking their head. Yet, I believe that this all happened for us to receive a new foundation of hope. It is beyond this life, it is into a realm which we can barely grasp nor understand. But there is more to come, and we do good in listening to Jesus and the words written in the biblical books. We are offered great peace and joy and freedom, in and through him, Christ Jesus, the lamb of God. (Roland Potthast) ... further texts