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Women who followed Jesus are on their way to the tomb where his body lay to anoint him with sacrificial burial spices. They arrive but soon panic when they find out that the body of Jesus is nowhere to be found. Suddenly two men whose clothes gleamed like lightning reminded the women that Jesus had predicted his death, burial, and resurrection and this brings the women a new sense of hope as they run back to the Eleven. While most doubted, Peter broke rank to go see for himself and maybe this is the true challenge for all of us.
A short retelling from Luke 24:1-12.
How does this help me love God better? This story is a reminder that God brings hope in hopeless situations, that he's the master of breathing life back into what seems dead. This is a mark of a God that cares about the people he has created, sending us the ultimate reminder that there is hope for us.
How does this help me love others better? I'm reminded that one of the ways we love others is by sharing with them what we've seen God do in our own lives. The women in this story do just that. I'm also reminded that sometimes the most loving thing you can do is to break rank even when it goes against popular opinion especially if it leads others towards the truth.
There are a few different things that stick out to me about this story. The use of The Eleven instead of The Twelve, their initial reaction of disbelief, and Peter's breaking of rank to go see for himself. This is a story about the resurrection to be sure, but it's also a story about the condition of the faithful few who feel like they've endured all and then lost.
God is actively redeeming and resurrecting and it's about to change their world for all eternity. Judas, one of their own, betrayed the Teacher they had all come to love. They've gone from twelve to eleven. They had lost one of their own along with Jesus. It was insult to injury. They must have felt beat down and out for the count, something all of us can resonate with at one point or another in life.
Then there's disbelief. Losing Jesus must have been the worst heartbreak they had ever suffered in life. It's no wonder that when the women began telling them what they had seen that at least a part of the Eleven considered it utter nonsense. The disciples were like anyone else and no-one wants to build up a hope that might be false when they've already been hurt.
What I'm struck by most is Peter's response. Even though everyone is saying it's all nonsense, he has to go see the empty tomb for himself. He breaks rank from the Eleven and heads to the tomb. He bends over to see the empty linens and walks away wondering what had happened. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Was his body stolen? They will all find out soon enough.