Normal is Gone
I have many questions about the first Easter morning. My theological curiosity stands in mystery. So let’s deal with an easier question. What did the first Easter morning feel like? The appearances of Jesus solicited a variety of emotions. The women at the tomb are described as filled with “fear and astonishment.” The two Emmaus disciples morphed from disappointment into astonishment and were left with burning hearts. The huddled disciples were frightened of authorities and shamed by their running. Jesus extended peace. For those who loved Jesus, whatever emotions filled their chest, their hearts would be flooded with relief and comfort. Here’s why.
I am certain that for the followers of Jesus, His resurrection would feel like a return. Once the fear and bewilderment wore off, they would see Jesus and think, “He has come back!” His re-appearance would be welcomed as a return - a return to normal. They can eat with Him again. They will have walks like they used to. What they lost in His death is now returned with unimaginable relief. All of that is completely understandable. That’s how we all would react to the restoration of a deceased loved one! All of the yesterdays thought gone, have been replaced. It would be relief beyond imagination. They’ve been comforted by a return to what has been. But the empty tomb of Jesus is not a replacement of the past. His life is not a return but a resurrection. That became obvious very quickly.
Jesus was different. He was who He always was, but not what He was. He could appear without entering a room. Despite having fish for dinner, there was something incorporeal about Him. He was new. He was glorified. When Mary held His legs in the garden, Jesus warned her not to cling to Him. He was not going to stay - and He didn’t. The disciples’ hope for permanence lasted only 40 days until He left them once more. If they were looking for the old relationship, they were reminded of Jesus’ words about the coming Spirit. They would know Jesus, but now in a new and different way. The point is simple, the resurrection does not restore our yesterdays. It points to our tomorrows.
Even though it occurred 2000 years ago, Easter is future oriented. It’s an arrow pointing to what we will be and where we will be. It doesn’t take us back to the familiar but thrusts us towards eternity holding a new heaven and a new earth. We prefer the familiar. Too often we find safety and comfort in what we know. We simply want Jesus to improve it. But He smiles and does more. He makes everything new and then lays all of it at the throne of the Father. So we get back to the mystery of our theology. I have many questions about what the new will be! But this I know - I want it. I would rather have an unknown future from the resurrected Lord than a re-run of normal.