Free of All The Things That Diminish Us

easterThe accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus differ in each of the four Gospels. It is interesting to compare each of the accounts and I would invite you to do so. Some have details unique to their Gospel, but all place the women at the tomb on Easter morning. Imagine what it must have been like for Jesus‘ followers in the events that led up to Easter day. On the day before his death Jesus shared the Passover supper with his disciples, his friends. Next there was the betrayal by one of those friends, turning him in to the ones in power who had been seeking his destruction. There was the devastating arrest of their friend, their teacher, the one that they had come to know was the long expected Messiah.

It must have seemed inconceivable that this was happening. As the crowd howled for Jesus’ blood, they suddenly realized, that as one of his followers, they too were in grave danger. Deathly afraid, Peter stayed close but denied him, most fled in all directions, abandoning their friend to his fate, an excruciatingly painful death on the cross. Only the women who had followed him and supported his ministry had the courage to stand and witness his crucifixion, a loving presence in his agony. Who could fault his followers if it seemed that all that they had worked toward, all their hopes were destroyed. Consumed with fear, haunted by guilt, the disciples gathered in the room where they had shared that last meal with their friend. Huddled together in their grief, waiting for they knew not what.

Early on Sunday morning, it was the women who went to the place where Jesus’ body had been laid to anoint his body with spices as was the custom of that time, only to discover the rock had been rolled away from the mouth of the tomb and his body was no longer there. In some texts they were met by Jesus, in others, an angel told them he was no longer there. It was later that Jesus himself appeared to his followers.

The world threw its worst at Jesus, scorn, ridicule, degradation, torture, a horrendous death and yet Jesus bore the weight of all that evil and was ever true to who he was, God’s son, filled with compassion to the end, asking God’s forgiveness for those who had treated him so cruelly and with utter disdain. Jesus gave everything to help us understand what it means to be fully human, to be the person God created us to be. Jesus came to help us understand what it is to be truly free, free of all the things that diminish us. Jesus came to offer us life, both now and for evermore.

Rejoice, for Christ has risen.