Living Among the Dead
Why do you seek the living among the dead? – Luke 24:5
Easter isn’t simply a day to remember Jesus’ resurrection, it’s a day to remind us to join in it – to be alive. Without the resurrection, Jesus was just a creative thinker, persuasive teacher and standout humanitarian. But if his story ended at the cross then his teaching was flawed and his good works were self-serving, because he would just be another wannabe messiah trying to promote a religious fad.
Without the resurrection, Jesus was dead wrong – about everything. His teachings ran counter to “the way things work around here.” You can’t love your enemies and expect to be victorious by any measure of this world. You can’t give to those who want to take from you and expect to get ahead. You can’t bless those who curse you and expect to maintain a good name. That is unless you’re playing an entirely different game with an entirely different rule book – and that’s exactly what Jesus was doing. He was a revelation – a clear picture – of his father and his father’s kingdom.
In Luke 24, the messengers’ words to the women who had come to care for Jesus’ dead body poetically capture the tension and distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world – “why do you seek the living among the dead.” In the strictest sense, the messengers were declaring that Jesus was alive, so his body would not be found in a tomb. But these words seem to capture the whole of Jesus ministry as well.
Jesus lived a life and taught his disciples a way of faith that was distinct – as distinct as living things are from dead things. Everything he taught and did seemed to be upside-down. It was as if he was living among the dead – like he had something no one else had and wanted to share it with everyone. Even his death on a cross displayed this paradox as he won by losing.
Jesus’ resurrection calls us and empowers us to live a life that’s in as much contrast to the ways of this world as life is from death.
This week, as we celebrate Easter, let it remind us to be alive – to be opposite offerings of everything this world has to offer:
- To love instead of hate
- To give instead of take
- To reconcile instead of divide
- To serve instead of rule
… to live among the dead.