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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

He is Not Here, But Has Risen

"Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? "

(Luke 24:5 NKJV)



Since Friday evening the body of the beloved teacher and friend, having suffered death on the hard wood of the cross, has been locked up in a tomb, a hole in the rock. He who had opened wide to them infinite horizons is now held behind a large stone in the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea and placed under military custody. At the burial, Nicodemus, the one who had previously gone to Jesus at night (John 3), brought "a mixture of myrrh and aloes of about a hundred pounds" before the Sabbath rest loomed (John 19:39). This is an enormous amount of pulverized or broken aromatics intended to accompany the deposition in the tomb of Jesus' body, corresponding to about 25 and 30 kilograms, a sign of great generosity on the part of the Sanhedrin member. Probably because of the looming Sabbath, the two were unable to complete the scenting.


So on the first day of the week, Sunday, at first light, a group of women went to the tomb with the aromas prepared on the Sabbath. According to Mark they had bought them, but little change, since they will never be used. In fact, Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Mary of James and (Salome) "the others who were with them" (v. 10) early in the day, so much loving and trembling in anticipation that they go out and, like a small, bewildered but nonetheless courageous flock, go to take care of the Master's body. But once they reach the place, they do not find the guards, and the large boulder, placed to clamp the entrance, has rolled sideways. Well, one less job to do. The tomb is amazingly open, like a seed shell. Someone must have come before them!!! Without hesitation, they enter, but it is the empty place. The body is gone. As they are perplexed and thoughts begin to crowd into their minds and hearts in search of a plausible explanation, "behold, two men in blazing robes appear to them" (v. 4). The women dare not look up, fear assails them, then a voice rips through the dawn announcing a glorious spring: "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen" (vv. 5-6).


He is not here, but is risen. These words are a milestone in the history of Christianity, the starting point of Church history yes, but also a "stumbling block" for those who do not open themselves to receive the Good News. How beautiful the statement "it is not here"! It is, but not here. One must look for Him elsewhere; not among the dead, but among the living. He is alive, just as He had said. The women are dazed. Until that moment they have not yet understood what has happened, despite the angels. The sign that will make them believe is another: remembering His words (v.8). At this point everything explodes: they believe because of Jesus' word, not because of the angels'. They believe before they see, like every disciple. They have treasured His words. So they go back to the disciples and tell what they saw, heard and remembered. They, however, remain petrified, "these words seemed to them like nonsense" (v. 11). A stone is still before their eyes, inside their hearts, over their minds. Something is missing for them, perhaps the match. Here, then, Peter breaks the delay and runs to the tomb. What these words invite you to do just today.


"Remember how he spoke to you." Why do you search among the dead for the one who is alive, closing in on yourself and no longer finding the strength to pray? Why do you seek him holed up in your loneliness, with no hope of deliverance and salvation? You need to echo the angel's admonition to remember His words! Simply because His Word is the principle for every encounter with the Risen One. You cannot live any faith by only celebrating traditions and sitting at a set table. Faith needs more to grow and more to manifest itself: listening, reading and meditating on His words are indispensable. Those will be the ones to open the eternal horizons, to make you contemplate the beauty of the empty tomb, to rejoice for the Risen and Ascended Christ to Heaven where He is preparing a place for those who have believed, believe and will believe.



 

Weekly Bible Reading Plan # 14


April 01, Judges 16-18; Luke 7:1-30

April 02, Judges 19-21; Luke 7:31-50

April 03, Ruth 1-4; Luke 8:1-25

April 04, 1 Samuel 1-3; Luke 8:26-56

April 05, 1 Samuel 4-6; Luke 9:1-17

April 06, 1 Samuel 7-9; Luke 9:18-36

April 07, 1 Samuel 10-12; Luke 9:37-62

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