Monday, May 04, 2009

See, I Have Told You

One of my favorite parts of the resurrection narratives is in Matthew where it says that there was a great earthquake when the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and he came and rolled back the stone from the door and sat on it (Mt. 28:2). It’s just that detail that the angel came down from heaven, pushed the stone out of the way and then he sat on. It’s so casual, so mundane. He’s the angel of the Lord and he’s sitting on a big stone. Matthew says that he looked like lightening and his clothing was white as snow, and the guards all shook with fear and fainted (28:3-4). This angel had been appointed from all eternity to perform this part of the story, to play this particular role. He had the earthquake-stone-moving part, he got to scare the guards, and then deliver a few specific lines to the women who came to the tomb, seeking Jesus. He tells the women: Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.” The angel goes on to tell the women to look at the grave and then to return to the disciples to tell them the wonderful news. And then he adds the line, “See, I have told you.” That’s just a funny line. The angel is sitting on his stone, and he tells the women that he told them that Jesus is risen. I imagine that the angel was smiling for most of this episode. It was the beginning of a new world, and he of all the host of heaven had one of the greatest parts of all. He got to roll the stone away, scare the guards, tell the women that Jesus was risen, and most of it he delivered sitting on his stone outside the empty tomb. How could He not have been smiling, sitting on his stone? “See I have told you.” It just sounds eager; it sounds all glad. And this meal should be no less glad, no less a joyous privilege. Here we are two thousand years later, sitting around this table, all glorious. And we’re still declaring to one another and to the world that Jesus is not here. He’s not here; he’s alive. Go tell your friends; go tell the world. And don’t worry about guards. There are still guards getting paid off, scared of the truth, scared of angels sitting on stones, all bright and shiny. But He is risen: see, I have told you. So come: eat, drink, and rejoice.

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