The Easter season, celebrating Jesus’ rising from the dead, lasts 40 days. The most curious thing about Jesus’ resurrection is that no one, not even his closest disciples, had expected such a thing — not just because an event of this nature had never happened before, but also because like many of his other teachings, the disciples had not grasped what he meant when he said: “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
The Gospels tell us that on the third day after his death, “…the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them… the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen…’ When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven… But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense”.
Like we look for concrete evidence to accept “unbelievable” incidents, the disciples too could not make sense of what they thought was “nonsense”. For if what the women were saying was true, why on earth did Jesus not show his power when he was being led to his death? The chief priests too had said then, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God. Now let God rescue Him”.
It is good for us to remember that God does not follow a script dictated by us. He expects us to follow his writ. The scriptures tell us that Jesus did dispel his disciples’ doubts. “During the 40 days after his crucifixion, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God”. It is true that the scene of Jesus’ death had frightened the disciples. They were often found hiding in closed rooms for the fear of the authorities. But for his many appearances to reassure them that he was alive, they would have either gone underground or returned to their fishing profession, for their Master had died a shameful criminal’s death. Christianity is alive today because Jesus is alive.
Father Dominic Emmanuel, a founder-member of Parliament of Religion, can be contacted at email@example.com...