The Question of Easter

Why do you look for the risen among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke 24:5, NIV).

 

The question

Question of Easter- featuredOur lives are full of questions. Some of these can define who we are. From “Will you take this woman?” to “Are you aware of how fast you were going, sir?” these questions demand answers. A question has the power, when posed correctly, of cutting through all the noise and clutter of our lives to expose what we really want. Answering honestly shows who we truly are.

Scripture is full of them. Think of Adam and Eve in Gen 3:9 when God asks them, “Where are you?” He knew; he didn’t need their answer. The question was posed for them; they needed to know where they were. After eating the forbidden fruit, they stood condemned by their own sin. Or, what about the Israelites’ inquiry into the mysterious food from the sky during their wanderings in the wilderness: “What is it?” (Ex 16:15). In Hebrew the word manna is this very question. It was God’s provision, his tangible grace reminding them of what he had done and could do for his children. One more, in Matthew 16 Jesus is polling his disciples, finding out what people are saying about him. Then he says, “But, who do you say that I am?” Peter’s answer, his later actions notwithstanding, proved his belief that Jesus was in fact the Messiah. And Jesus was pleased.

These and many other questions are directed now at us, the readers of the Bible, the church. We are asked by God, “Where are we?” in relation to him. We are called to reflect upon our daily sustenance, remembering it always has been a gift of God’s grace to us. And, like the disciples, we have to answer Jesus’ question, “Who do we say Jesus is?”

But look at the question put to the women that first Easter morning. Specifically, hear it asking us “Why do you look for life where there is no life?” We all want a life that is truly alive — one with purpose, calling and joy. God, through this question, is calling us to abandon our search for this life among dead, lifeless things. If we are honest, we think we can create this life for ourselves and our children. That we are trying to do so can be seen in our obsession with money and our fear of the lack of it; in our never-ending lust for pleasure and leisure; and in our drive for more power and prestige. What we need is an alternative, another place to go to find what our lives need, what we are designed for.

 

The answer

The answer the angels give is our answer as well. The missing ingredient to a fulfilled, complete life is risen. The answer no longer lays among all the other potential remedies and cures for our ills. Our Answer is the Risen One, the Lord Jesus Christ. He has come to give us abundant life (John 10:10). This question pushes us, like the women, to leave the empty tomb and get about searching for Him and spreading the good news of his Resurrection.

May this Easter be a time in which we, the church, humbly hear this question again and respond in faith, looking to the answer: Jesus Christ. Then, like the women running to share, may we in love put this question to our neighbors and friends, both in our words and actions, as we move out from the empty tomb to a waiting world.

 

Dr. Seth Tarrer is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Knox Theological Seminary. You can reach him at [email protected]

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