An Easter Reflection from the Disciple’s Perspective

Well, I hope you had a wonderful Easter and Holy Week (if you are Protestant, that is. Wishing continued grace to you dear Coptic Orthodox readers til May 5).  Now, if you’ve been reading along, you know I’ve been trying to reflect on Holy Week through the lens of the disciples (here and here). Among the reasons is its my attempt to look at a familiar story with fresh eyes. I know that feeling of “here we go again” quite well and leaning in to finding something deeper has been a welcomed solution to overcoming the frustration of the familiar.

So, if I am one of the disciples Easter morning and I hear about the empty tomb, I suppose my first thought is, “Come on people, haven’t we had enough drama already? Our beloved rabbi is dead. Dead. It’s hard to let go, but we’re going to need to move on.” I’m also wondering what’s flashing through their minds as the day passes and obvious questions get resolved like, “Were they even at the right tomb?” and “Did any of us actually check? Oh Peter … and John said the same thing? Ok this is weird.”

I know the feeling of doubt creeping in and spoiling our hopes. But what about hope creeping in and spoiling all our doubts? The tomb is empty.
And this is Jesus we are talking about. The guy who we saw heal real people, who clearly had a superior moral teaching than all his rivals/colleagues, claimed to be the Son of God, predicted to us this would happen, I mean looking back on it now it does. He just brought Lazarus back from the dead not too long ago, he seems to have insider knowledge with all this life, death and tomb stuff. What’s it called when you back to life, resurrection is it?

That awkward when the resurrected Jesus walks into the room without using the door, yeah, if I’m one of the disciples, I am guessing I’m feeling the paradox of “This is extremely weirder than anything I’ve ever experienced” and “Still, there is an unusual peace, I’m going with it.”

“Shalom” the ghost that just walked through a wall but lets you touch His pierced hands says.

I think once I’m convinced that no one spiked the hummus with magic mushrooms and I realize I’m not hallucinating and this is really happening that I’m able to realize this is not only a life-changing moment but everything is changing right now.

Over the next 40 days, the disciples are going to be completely out of excuses of why a dead man can’t come back to life – it’s happening right in front of them. Jesus killed on a Friday, with them by Sunday and each day for the next 4 weeks. We’re told that up to 500 people are going to have an experience with the risen Jesus.

If I’m one of them, and I’m reflecting on all of this, I’m thinking, what do I do now? I imagine a profound gravity to the moment, accompanied by a sense of unworthiness. I can’t keep this to myself, right? A man who claimed to be God just came back to life and promised the same resurrected life to those who put their trust in Him. For all the people who suffer now, physically, emotionally, spiritually, Jesus offers life now and forever and I’ve been humbled and honored to witness this. Clealry, I have to do something.

I’m not really trying to offer an apologetic here, I’m just trying to process the why. Even in all the superhero movies, we see the protagonist coming to grips with the need of using their powers for good, to help others, to fight evil and serve the common good. Further, when I realize the early disciples did not get rich off this but rather were beaten, threatened, felt the guilt of the persecution of their converts, and eventually martyred themselves, I have to believe they believed something profound happened. Upon encountering the risen Jesus, this hope leaked through their despair, their skepticism, their sense of self-preservation and dramatically changed their lives, the lives of others and the course of history.

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