LEARN TO LIVE, LIVE TO LEARN
“To know much and taste nothing-of what use is that?” ―St. Bonaventure of Bagnoregio
Were the disciples expecting something to happen that Sunday morning? Or were they downhearted, discouraged and depressed?
The day begins with a group of women discovering the empty tomb in the early morning. Having gone near dawn to anoint Jesus’ body with spices, they instead come to an empty tomb whose stone has been rolled away by an angel and are told by angels that the Jesus they seek is no longer in the tomb but has risen as he said. The women are then sent to the disciples and told they will see him in Galilee (Matt 28:1–7; Mark 16:1–7; Luke 24:1–7; John 20:1–2). At this the women depart, afraid at first (Mark 16:8), but they eventually make their way to the disciples in order to tell them what has happened (Luke 24:8–11; John 20:2). As they are traveling, they are met by the risen Lord himself who instructs them to go tell the disciples to go ahead to Galilee where they will meet him (Matt 28:8–10). After receiving the report from the women, the disciples’ initial response is to think that the women are telling an “idle tale” (Luke 24:11), but nonetheless Peter and John decide to cross check. Running to the tomb, they find that it is indeed empty (Luke 24:12; John 20:3–5). Not only this, but the cloths used to wrap Jesus’ body are folded up and separated from the cloth used to bind his face (John 20:5–7) indicating that the body hadn’t been stolen but raised from the dead. John sees the linen cloth and believes, even though he didn’t yet fully understand that Jesus must rise from the dead according to the Scriptures. Then Peter and John return home (John 20:8–10).
Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene is making her way back to the tomb after reporting the news to the disciples. Weeping, she looks into the tomb where she sees angels. They asked her about her weeping, but instead of receiving a comforting word from the angels, Mary encounters Jesus. She doesn’t recognize him at first, mistaking him for the gardener. He then reveals himself to her and sends her back to the disciples to tell them that he will soon be ascending back to God, his and their Father. Mary returns, bringing a vastly different message than she had declared earlier that morning (John 20:11–18).
Not only did the disciples seem to doubt that Jesus would rise from the dead, they even refused to believe reports that Jesus had raised from the dead coming from eyewitnesses. Weren’t these people closest to Jesus? Weren’t they most heavily invested in the life and ministry of Jesus? So then why were they the last to believe in the resurrection? Maybe that’s where you find yourself today, too. You doubt Jesus' goodness because of what has been taken from you.You doubt Jesus' promises because his timing is not yours. You doubt God’s ability to use you with your past, your weakness and your mistakes. It’s natural to doubt; it’s supernatural to have faith. And don’t forget this truth…He loves you in the midst of your doubt.
Jeff Jacinto, PhD, DHum