What if what they say is true?

Some thoughts on the Easter story.The women return from the tomb, and as Mark tells us in 16:8, their initial impulse was to tell no-one, for they were afraid. We learn that the later did go to the disciples and tell the fantastic story of the empty tomb and the angel(s), but, “they did not believe.”9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.So, again, what if what they say is true? What if, in fact, there really is a resurrection from the dead, Jesus was truly raised from the dead, and all those who believe and place their trust in him will be raised with him?Those of us who believe may at times be inclined to chastise those who doubt…after all, the stakes are pretty high, according to Mark 16:15-16 – 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. – so, we certainly want folks to believe. But look at the folks who doubted. They were not simple minded, foolish, inexperienced or untaught. Jesus had been with them for 3 years – that’s over 1000 days. And what did they experience – every miracle, every exorcism, the healings, the feedings, the weather miracles – even the raising of Lazarus, the raising the widow’s son, and of Jairus’ daughter.And they did not believe. According to Mark’s telling, when the women returned from the empty tomb to report that they had infact seen Jesus, – nope, not gonna buy it. And when two of the other disciples – those who were on the road to Emmaeus – when they come to report that they have talked with and even eaten with Jesus – still they disbelieve. Their own close companions tell them that the things Jesus had predicted have actually happened, and they all doubt.How are we different from them? How are we similar?When do we doubt the truth of other’s experiences of God? When do we say, “I don’t care what you think you heard and saw, that can’t be.” We may even go so far as Thomas and say, “Unless I can personally put my hand in his wounded side, I won’t believe.”

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