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The Resurrection of Our Lord, March 31, 2024

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The Resurrection of Our Lord, March 31, 2024

Mary, Mary, and Salome, the first of those commissioned as apostles, sent out to bear news of the resurrection.  Mary, Mary, and Salome, three women who had come to the tomb intending to fulfill their duty and honor the dead by anointing their crucified teacher.  Their duty and honor would go unfulfilled.  The events started piling up:  the stone protecting the tomb had been rolled back (vs. 4).  The tomb had an invader—that is, a young man dressed in a white robe (vs. 5).  The young man had distressing news—Jesus was not present, even as a corpse (vs. 6).  And then, they were told, “Go!  Tell!” (vs. 7).  These events piling up on one another drove them out of the tomb in haste, in fear, and in befuddlement.

While we, from this side of a two-thousand-year history with the resurrection, might be tempted to attribute their fear and befuddlement to the piling on of seemingly supernatural events, that attribution would be mistaken.  There is an entirely non-supernatural explanation for their fear and confusion:  They could easily be accused of a capital crime.  Caesar, it appears, had issued a decree regarding the sanctity of graves and tombs.  Out of respect for the dead and those who grieved them, the Roman emperor had ordered all graves and tombs along with their contents to be honored.  Interference with, or theft of, a tomb’s contents—especially the body—was to receive the death penalty.  In the absence of Jesus’ body, Mary, Mary, and Salome stood under the threat of death.  To announce the empty tomb would be to implicate themselves in grave robbing.  Likewise, when the chief priests and elders paid the guards at the tomb to spread the lie that his disciples had stolen the body (Mt. 28:13), that accusation of grave robbing and its consequences implicated the disciples in a capital crime.   

Thanks be to God that we no longer live under the threat of such crime but can declare the risen Lord with faith and confidence and have no fear.

Table Talk:  Discuss the implications the death sentence accusation has upon the reading of the book of Acts.
Pray:  Heavenly Father, grant me to say, “He is risen!” in confidence and faith.  Amen

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