Across the Pastor’s Desk: The proof of new life from God
Published 8:00 pm Friday, May 6, 2022
Across the Pastor’s Desk, by Todd Walsh
It is Mother’s Day weekend. It is a time to celebrate the love of family and the gift that God gives through our mothers. At the same time, we are drawn to the author of love and life as we continue the 50 days of Easter.
The Easter season reveals to us the empty tomb. We join the witnesses at the empty tomb. We see the risen Jesus appear to the disciples. He meets and greets one of the women near the empty tomb. He walks along with two unknowing disciples until he reveals himself to them in the breaking of the bread. He gives a fishing lesson to some of the disciples on the Sea of Galilee and then throws a beach picnic for them. He even appears to the disciples in the upper room of the Lord’s Supper by coming through the wall! With all that, he addresses their doubt, their fear and their failings with new beginnings and new life.
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But there is one most telling omission. None of the four gospels report the details of the resurrection. It is not described. An earthquake in Matthew hints at it. But that’s as close as we get. Where is the documentation? Where is the proof?
Mark offers perhaps the most peculiar but clever proof. The women at the empty tomb run away “in terror and amazement and say nothing to anyone.” But anyone reading that ending would question that ending as ridiculous. Of course they told someone! How could you not tell the story? The love of God could not be stopped. Mark has made his point. We are the witnesses and the proof.
Matthew shows the disciples going to Galilee and meeting the Lord. He tells them, “Go, therefore and make disciples of all nations…” Jesus tells the disciples to do the very thing he has done for them. We now live and share the message.
Luke shows us the wonder of the love of God among us each day as Jesus meets two disciples on that Easter day on the road to Emmaus. He shared the Word of God with them and broke bread with them. Christians from that day to this day center their worship life on the sharing of the Word of God and the breaking of the bread in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The message is clear. Jesus is alive and among us speaking and feeding. And we live and share that message.
The fourth gospel shows us the risen Jesus repeating the greeting, “Peace be with you.” That greeting reminds us what his dying and rising are meant to bring. It is about peace. He also addresses our doubt as he speaks words of invitation to Thomas.
But there is one line at the end of John’s gospel I have always found amazing. It is John 20:30-31. “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”
Did you notice what just happened in that verse? The evangelist talks to us! “But these are written so that you may come to believe…” He directly addresses his audience two thousand years ago. And he addresses you and me directly with those same words. We are lifted into the story. We are invited to be witnesses that Jesus is risen, and we who believe that have new life for every day. And even our last day is a new beginning.
So where is the proof of the resurrection of Jesus? It is you and me who believe it happened and is still happening. The risen Jesus is still speaking to us each day of our journey in this life. He is still feeding us with his very life. And he still reveals to us new life in such abundance that it is to be shared.
Todd Walsh is director of spiritual care services at Thorne Crest Senior Living Community in Albert Lea.