Tag Archives: Les Revenants

Christ did not ‘come back from the dead’

Readings
Acts 10.34–43
Matthew 28.1–10

 

This time last year, some of us had just concluded a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. On our last day in Jerusalem, we were at the Garden Tomb, one of the possible sites of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. On the door of the tomb itself, there is this sign:

He is not here

 

‘He is not here; for he is risen.’

The Christian faith is squarely built on the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Soon after his horrible execution on the cross, when his disciples were at their lowest, he appeared among them, and they were transformed.

‘He is not here; for he is risen.’

These of course are the words Matthew includes in his story of the resurrection, words spoken by the angel to Mary Magdalene. In the NRSV of our pew bibles it is

He is not here; for he has been raised …

He is not here. Not here where?

In Matthew’s Gospel, the two Marys go to see the tomb. They are expecting to see a closed tomb which contains the corpse of Jesus. That’s where a dead person belongs. Safely tucked away.

The two Marys are expecting to see that the dead is among the dead.

That’s the way it is, isn’t it? I visited my dad’s grave the day after his funeral. I didn’t expect to see that he had risen. And he hadn’t.

But Jesus is risen. And that turns everything upside down.

Now Jesus is risen, death is defeated. The risen Lord Jesus Christ brings life and healing to all people. In him is eternal life.

This life is for all. Jesus died as one of the rejected and excluded of the world so that the rejected ones might be included in the new humanity that he has brought to birth. That’s what Peter found out when he saw that vision of the unclean animals. No one is left out, everyone is included in the offer of eternal life.

We’re curious about death and what’s beyond the grave. So it’s not surprising that recently there have been a couple of dramas on TV which have been about people returning from the dead. We might confuse the Resurrection of Jesus with these other stories of people coming back from the dead. And that just won’t do, because stories of people returning from the grave can be quite disturbing.

Let me tell you about these TV shows.

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