I don’t believe it. That is the usual biblical response. It is funny that the bible, a book of belief, is full of so much disbelief and consternation. An inspired sense of humor seems to have been written between the lines.
What does it take to believe in the resurrection of Jesus?
There isn’t much belief in Luke’s Easter morning gospel.
Jesus is not there.
It is ominous and strange, yet another mockery and desecration, even Jesus’ body has been taken. Can’t they just leave him alone now?
There are rumors of supernatural beings, an idle tale of being risen, there is terror and amazement, wringing hands, scratching heads.
Easter morning in Luke is an active crime scene full of groggy eyed grief, clinging and holding one another in confusion and anguish, there is indignant mockery and scorn. Yellow tape marks the boundaries of belief. What does it take to believe?
The rumors continue, and later in the day the appearances begin, Jesus is seen, spoken too, touched. He appears again and again.
There is more terror, more confusion, not a ghost, but a living body with wounds to be seen and felt, there is joy and yet more disbelief.
Then Jesus eats some broiled fish– and that seems to be where they begin to stumble into belief and receiving the mission to carry the good news everywhere.
Funny that belief seems to be triggered by food, the broken bread on the Emmaus road and the broiled fish in Jerusalem. Jesus and food they go together, this is where belief begins. It must be some cookbook!
There can be angelic beings, ghostly appearances, touching the wounded hands and feet, but food– that seems to be what is required.
A physical resurrection, we believe in flesh and blood, Jesus appears and shares food.
This isn’t some spiritual guru or a ghostly apparition who abandons physical existence, this is flesh and blood and food.
A physical resurrection.
An idle tale?
What does it take to cut the yellow crime scene tape? What does it take for us to stumble into the fear-filled joy of a life that believes in the resurrection, of living a life of resurrection, of the mission of carrying that strange good news everywhere?
This life of living the resurrection, it isn’t about waiting for someday: to escape our lives, to escape our bodies, to escape this world, it isn’t about looking for Jesus beyond death.
It isn’t among the dead that we find Jesus, but among the living, sharing a meal, sharing life together.
What does this life of resurrection look like?
How we live, that says what we really believe.
What does our life look like?
The Gospel according to Luke finds Jesus mixed up in the world, among the living, there is no place out of bounds, bringing judgment and mercy and hope and of course food.
And those who believe do likewise.
So Easter brings a challenge, do we live lives of idle tales or do we live lives of resurrection?
Do we bring a love to those around us that is relentless?
Or do we surrender to the usual diet of mockery, that thin soup of scorn that passes for maturity in our culture?
The Gospel is that love wins, despite it all, love wins.
Love rises from the dead and prepares a table before the enemy, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food filled with marrow and fatness.
Surrender to love and life and shared meals with unlikely company.
Give up on mockery, relent on scorn, forsake derision.
Jesus is Lord, surrender and eat.