God’s Restrained Announcement

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?  “He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:5)

We have just celebrated the most important event of our Christian faith – Jesus’ resurrection.  Yet, as significant as it is for us and human history, God was rather restrained in bringing it to people’s attention.

There was no proclamation from a choir of angels  as at Jesus’ birth announcing that “A Savior has been born unto you.” (Luke 2:11)  In fact, God let Jesus’ followers kind of stumble into what had happened. On the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, we have a couple of angels asking the above question to the women who had come to anoint Jesus’ body.

The angels went on to explain that Jesus had risen from the dead just as he said he would, but the women did not understand.  For them, the only conceivable explanation was that someone had taken Jesus’ body.  Peter and John, upon hearing the women’s report had a foot race to the tomb only to find that the linens which Jesus had been wrapped in were neatly folded in two different places.  Neither did they understand, although Luke reports that Jesus did appear later to Peter. (Luke 24:34) 

Jesus also appears to Mary Magdalene, and two of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, but there was no recognition of who he was until he called Mary by name and broke bread in front of the disciples.  In spite of all the times that Jesus told the disciples before his crucifixion that he had to suffer death and rise from the dead, they did not understand. 

Why?  It was not until they had personally encountered the risen Jesus and were anointed with the Holy Spirit at the Feast of Pentecost that they began to fully comprehend what Jesus’ resurrection meant for them and human history.  St. Paul reports that Jesus appeared to more than 500 at one time. (1 Cor. 5:6) 

The resurrection radically changed how the apostles and early Christians lived and modeled their lives.

Like the disciples and the early Christians, we too, need to personally experience the presence of the risen Jesus and the anointing of the Holy Spirit before we can comprehend the effect of his resurrection on our lives.  No announcement, no teaching by itself will get the job done.

That was true for me 45 years ago on an October evening when I had a personal encounter with Jesus. Through God’s grace and the power of his Holy Spirit he opened my mind and heart to the reality of his risen presence in my life.

Have you met the risen Jesus and experienced the outpouring of his Holy Spirit?

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