Resurrecting Faith, Luke 24:1-12
Easter is God’s invitation to live in resurrecting faith. To help in our consideration of God’s invitation to live in resurrecting faith, I invite us to consider the perplexing reality that Luke describes in Luke 24:2-5 as he details the events of the first Easter morning when Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James, and some other unnamed women were the first people to live in the resurrecting faith of the empty tomb of Jesus.
Luke tells how these women went to the tomb on Easter morning expecting to find the dead body of Jesus as they took spices to complete the burial ritual. Guided by this expectation of life and death, they received God’s invitation to live in resurrecting faith as they encountered a reality that was beyond their expectations.
It was a resurrecting moment as they:
- found the stone had been rolled away from the tomb
- discovered the tomb was empty
- were asked by heavenly messengers, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Listen again to how Luke described the resurrecting faith of Easter in Luke 24:2-5:
“They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”
To understand the resurrecting faith of these verses, it is important to understand the word that described the reality the women were encountering on the first Easter. Luke explains this reality with this phrase, “while they were perplexed about this.” The Greek word Luke uses for perplexed is aporeo, which means “to be without resources, at a loss, to be without a way.” Aporeo accurately describes the perplexing reality the women were experiencing as they encountered a reality that was beyond their expectations as they stood inside the empty tomb.
Standing inside the empty tomb, they were perplexed because the reality they were
expecting was death rather than resurrection. Living in their expectations of reality, they were perplexed because they were focused
- at the loss in their lives
- at the challenges that were beyond the resources of their lives.
- at the lack of a way forward in their living
Standing inside the empty tomb, they did not expect God’s invitation to live in resurrecting faith rather than living in perplexity. God invited them to live in the resurrecting faith of Jesus:
- roll away the stone that sought to entomb them in their perplexity from the perplexity of their life
- give them new life
- help them to look for Christ among the living
The empty tomb was not the reality the women were expecting but it was the resurrecting faith God invited them to live in as they faced the perplexity of their lives.
As we find ourselves standing in the midst of perplexing times, God offers us the same invitation to live in resurrecting faith. As we stand in the midst of perplexing times noted by mass shootings, racial strife, political divides, and differing life views, we may not expect God’s invitation to resurrecting faith on this Easter morning, but the stone has been rolled away, the tomb of Jesus is empty. God’s invitation to look for the living Christ among the living still stands.
C.S. Lewis was a world-renowned author who faced perplexing times in his life. He was born in Ireland in 1898 and died in 1963. He is the author of thirty books that include The Chronicles of Narnia. When Lewis was 9 years old, his mother died. Lewis’ father sent Lewis and his brother to a boarding school where the headmaster was later certified as being insane. This was the beginning of C. S. Lewis’ journey into atheism. Perplexed by the realities of his life, he was at a loss and without a way forward.
At age seventeen, Lewis wrote to longtime friend Arthur Greeves, “I believe in no religion. There is absolutely no proof for any of them, and from a philosophical standpoint Christianity is not even the best.” Fifteen years later, Lewis wrote to Arthur, “Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call f’real things’. . . namely, the actual incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection.”
What caused the radical change in his life? One of the factors Lewis cites was when he was riding on a train back to London after being wounded in World War I and was reflecting on the devastation of life he had witnessed in combat. As he rode on the train, he observed the scenery which was a vast contrast to what he had encountered in the scarred battlefields of France. Observing the beauty of creation, Lewis reports he began to live in the possibility of believing that there might be a God after all. His journey of faith that began on this train led him on a journey of belief that culminated in his acknowledgment of faith in God through theism in 1929 and his acceptance of faith in the risen Christ in 1931.
In place of the hopeless perplexity that had defined his atheism, C. S. Lewis noted the beauty of nature, the beauty of art, the gift of joy with which life regales us in sudden and unexpected ways, and encounters with other people. Writing about where his journey of faith had led him, C. S. Lewis stated the resurrecting faith of Christianity with these words, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen — not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” I think it is safe to state that C. S. Lewis accepted God’s invitation to live in resurrecting faith.
This Easter morning, how are you accepting God’s invitation to live in resurrecting faith? In the midst of perplexity, how are you seeking Jesus among the living for Christ the Lord is risen. Christ the Lord is risen, indeed!
April 4, 2021