*Guest Post by Richard Coombs*
What do you think it would have been like to observe the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave? What if some entrepreneur had understood when Jesus said that he would rise from the dead? What if he sought an opportunity to make some money off this spectacular event? What if he set some seats up in front of the tomb and charged people admission for watching? What if he advertised in the Jerusalem Chronicle and a huge crowd showed up to watch?
My guess is that people would have arrived cynical, casual, and callused. But then, a resplendent light followed by momentary silence before a deafening noise, Jesus would have stepped forth from the grave alive. I suspect that the onlookers’ eyes would have been as big as saucers; their jaws would have dropped. A sense of wonder and ecstasy would have filled everyone watching. The feelings, of which, would never be forgotten.
No one witnessed the resurrection, but many have experienced it. No one can explain the resurrection, but many feel the effects.
Does the resurrection affect you?
The earth felt the effects. (Matt. 28:2). It shook. It reeled and rocked. The ground quaked. The rocks erupted. The earth cracked. Nature was aroused. The earth trembled in sorrow at the crucifixion, but it leaped for joy at the resurrection.
The angel felt the effects. (Matt 28:3) Like an action hero on a Saturday morning cartoon, shafts of lightning blazed from the angel with its clothes shimmering like new-fallen snow. The angel sat on the rock that had been rolled away indicating the triumph of the completed work.
The guards felt the effects. (Matt. 28:4). They stood as corpses. They shook, in their sandals, longer than the ground. The ones keeping watch over the dead became as dead. They were scared stiff.
The women felt the effects. (Matt. 28:1). En route to the tomb they were concerned about who would move the stone for them. On seeing the stone rolled way from the opening of the tomb and hearing the angel proclaim that Jesus was not present, he had been raised, they were deep in wonder and filled with joy.
Everyone present that day felt the effect of the resurrection. What effect does the resurrection have on you? Does the resurrection move you?
Can we celebrate Easter and not be moved? Can we still have the world as it were yesterday?
Easter is an earthquake with a stone rolled away from the tomb and a dead person walking the streets, with an angel sitting on the stone. It created a ruckus.
I’ve been in an earthquake. I was brought up on ‘earthquake drills’ at school. Our first church was situated in a town where earthquakes were common place – some small; some large. Believe me when a whole building shakes, you feel it.
Easter is an earthquake that shook the whole world. It got everyone’s attention.
On the cross, the world did all it could to Jesus. At Easter, God did all he could to the world. And the earth shook.
You don’t explain that. You experience it. You feel it. It goes right through you.
In the fifties, in China, there was a devastating earthquake. As a result of the quake, a huge boulder was dislodged from a mountain and exposed a great cache of wonderful artifacts from a thousand years ago. A new world became visible.
When the stone was rolled away that entombed Jesus, and the earth shook, we got our first glimpse of a new world, a world where death doesn’t have the last word; a world where injustice is made right; and innocent suffering is vindicated by the intrusion of a powerful God.
When the earth heaved, an angel appeared, the stone was rolled away, the soldiers shook, and not because the ground was rumbling. The angel plopped himself down on the stone in one final act of bold defiance of death. He said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. You’re looking for Jesus? He isn’t here.” Then the angel turned to the soldiers and said, “Be afraid. Everything your world is built on is being shaken.”
Nobody went back the same way they came. Easter has that kind of moving effect on people.
Does it have that effect on you?
If not, maybe you need to check your spiritual pulse. Maybe you have been living too long in the in-between-time of Good Friday and Easter. Maybe it is time to see and feel the resurrection of Jesus all over again. Maybe it is time to let God shake your world? Maybe it is time to allow God to roll the stone away from your cold and hardened heart to feel the love and power of Jesus Christ.