Tag Archives: Easter

He’s Not Here Anymore

I had to go
to the place they’d laid him.
I had to go
and continue the task,
to honour
in death
the one we loved so much.

I came,
dragging my cares,
my fears,
my worries.
Wondering,
questioning;
as much about practicalities
as huge theological questions.
The kind of things you worry about,
to stop you worrying about the really huge questions.

But when we got there
our confusion turned to panic.
Someone had moved the stone,
that huge rock
rolled right away.
how could anyone have budged that?
It was the final stopper
on all Jesus had been,
the seal on all he had promised.

The end had come.
We had to face it.

And yet
it had gone.
moved.
No longer a barrier.

Left behind was
the message,
he’s not here.

It isn’t over,
this isn’t the end.
God has had the final word.

Jesus is alive.

What next?
Who knows,
but Jesus remains with us
God in him.
God taking us
on this journey
on
into life,
hope,
power.

Into life where there was death,
hope where there was despair,
freedom where there things were held down,
power where there was powerlessness.

He isn’t here anymore,
he has risen.

Mark 16:1-8 (CEV)

Jesus Is Alive

16 After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some spices to put on Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just as the sun was coming up, they went to the tomb. On their way, they were asking one another, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” But when they looked, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. And it was a huge stone!

The women went into the tomb, and on the right side they saw a young man in a white robe sitting there. They were alarmed.

The man said, “Don’t be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. God has raised him to life, and he isn’t here. You can see the place where they put his body. Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”

When the women ran from the tomb, they were confused and shaking all over. They were too afraid to tell anyone what had happened.

Where Have You Been?

Luke 24:13-35 (CEV)

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples

13 That same day two of Jesus’ disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, 15 Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. 16 But they did not know who he was.

17 Jesus asked them, “What were you talking about as you walked along?”

The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. 18 Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, “Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn’t know what was happening there these last few days?”

19 “What do you mean?” Jesus asked.

They answered:

Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. 20 Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. 21 We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened.

22 Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, 23 but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24 Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn’t see Jesus either.

25 Then Jesus asked the two disciples, “Why can’t you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? 26 Didn’t you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?” 27 Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.[a]

28 When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. 29 They begged him, “Stay with us! It’s already late, and the sun is going down.” So Jesus went into the house to stay with them.

30 After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. 31 At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared. 32 They said to each other, “When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn’t it warm our hearts?” 33 So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem.

The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together. 34 And they learned from the group that the Lord was really alive and had appeared to Peter. 35 Then the disciples from Emmaus told what happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord when he broke the bread.

We were walking along.  Still discussing.  Still wondering.  Still trying to work our what it was all about.  What a roller coaster few weeks, well years really I suppose, what a whole range of emotions.  We really needed to work out what this meant for the rest of our lives.

Then someone else appeared.  A fellow traveller, going the same way.  He asked us what we were discussing – seemed very interested (though I don’t know where he’d been because he didn’t seem to know anything about what had happened!).

So we told him.  All about Jesus.  What he had done and taught; what he had meant to us; how he’d been tried and sent to crucifixion; and then the tales of his resurrection.  We told him how our hopes had been dashed, how we’d hope he was the one to save Israel – from itself and it’s tyrants – but it wasn’t to be; then our surprise and our confusion.

This man seemed to know something.  He wondered why we were surprised, why we couldn’t understand what had happened, even realised it was part of the plan…  He certainly knew all about the Law and the Prophets, he gave us an impromptu bible study on everything written about The Messiah.  Well that wasn’t the end to the day that we were expecting.

We were drawing near to our destination.  Truth be told, we’d be glad to get there, sit down and have some sleep.  All this emotion is exhausting.  But it seemed rude not to invite him in.  Somehow we had formed a bond on the road.  He seemed to be going somewhere else, but we begged him to stay with us.  He came with us and we sat down to eat.

And then the penny dropped.  As he took the bread, it all became clear.  Only one person breaks the bread like that.

IT WAS HIM.

Jesus was still here with us.  On our journey.  In our home.  With us in our conversation and our wondering.

Jesus has not gone on.  He is here with us.

Be Known to us in Breaking Bread

Been There, Done That

The Risen Christ

You had lost your friend, your mentor, the one you believed was going to change not just your world, but the whole word.  You had watched him be arrested, falsely accused, face a sham trial, and be hung up on a cross until he died.

And just as you were beginning to come to terms with this, to realise that your hopes were dashed and your friend gone, something even more life-changing happens – his body was not there, indeed he was no longer dead.  What is this all about?

Peter sets out to explain.

Acts 2:14a, 22-32 (CEV)

Peter Speaks to the Crowd

14 Peter stood with the eleven apostles and spoke in a loud and clear voice to the crowd:

22 Now, listen to what I have to say about Jesus from Nazareth. God proved that he sent Jesus to you by having him work miracles, wonders, and signs. All of you know this.23 God had already planned and decided that Jesus would be handed over to you. So you took him and had evil men put him to death on a cross. 24 But God set him free from death and raised him to life. Death could not hold him in its power.25 What David said are really the words of Jesus,

“I always see the Lord
    near me,
and I will not be afraid
    with him at my right side.
26 Because of this,
    my heart will be glad,
my words will be joyful,
    and I will live in hope.
27 The Lord won’t leave me
    in the grave.
I am his holy one,
and he won’t let
    my body decay.
28 He has shown me
    the path to life,
and he makes me glad
    by being near me.”

29 My friends, it is right for me to speak to you about our ancestor David. He died and was buried, and his tomb is still here. 30 But David was a prophet, and he knew that God had made a promise he would not break. He had told David that someone from his own family would someday be king.

31 David knew this would happen, and so he told us that Christ would be raised to life. He said that God would not leave him in the grave or let his body decay. 32 All of us can tell you that God has raised Jesus to life!

God has set him free from death.  That is never going to hold his son and his life.  But this means something really powerful to those who follow him.  The death, and especially the resurrection, shows, not just the power of God, but his love and care for us.  Because Jesus died and has risen, God is with us.  He doesn’t leave us, even in the grave.  We have hope, the hope of God who is beyond death.  There continues to be nowhere that we can go where Jesus hasn’t been – and hasn’t brought new life.

Yes, the grave is a reality of life, but it is a place Jesus has been and brings his life.  Because he has risen, he continues to be alongside us in all we face, day by day.  In our joys, but also in our struggles, our pain, our desolation, our confusion, our disappointments, and in those oh so ordinary days.

That is what watching his friend die, totally unwarranted, meant to Peter, what brought him hope.  It continues to be that hope for me today, and it can be for each of us.

Jesus knows everything we go through.  He lived every human emotion himself.  Unlike us, he has been there, done that – and come back again, but he continues to stand alongside in absolutely everything our life contains.  He is my hope, the one that keeps me going, because I know he knows.  And for that I thank God.

In Christ Alone

And if that all seems a bit ‘me’, maybe it is.  Because we have to know where we are, what God means, before we can begin to tell others.