Scripture: The angel said, “He is not here; he has risen! (Luke 24:6a, NIV)

He Has Risen     Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. . . They all tell a story unlike any other in the long history of story telling. Their Teacher, “Rabboni” in their language of Aramaic, was the subject of much controversy in the land of Palestine. A carpenter’s son, from the insignificant village of Nazareth in Galilee, yet so able to dominate the learned Priests and Teachers of the Judaic law in Jerusalem that they became reluctant to argue with Jesus.
    His discourses were unlike any other; “He teaches with authority,” they observed. He taught that the Commandments could be summed up in two: “Love God, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” He not only associated with the unloved and the unlovely, but also healed them, and blessed them. Publicans and sinners, lepers and even the dead - untouchable all - yet he touched them, ate with them, cured their ailments, forgave their sins, and restored them to their family, and to society.
    “Who is this,” the authorities wondered, “that can forgive sins?
    Naturally, many also wondered if Jesus was the promised Messiah. He certainly fit the image of being at least a prophet. He was outspoken, he had a great following among the people, and he had the power of healing. Although Jesus did not proclaim openly that he was the Messiah, The Christ, many others were claiming that they were.
     Judea had been fought over for years. Three centuries earlier, Alexander The Great led Greek armies through the land on their way to conquer Egypt. Years of strife and repressive governments made the people long for a leader to restore Judah/Israel to the religious and civil covenant promised them at Sinai, through Moses. The Pharisees sought to revitalize religion through synagogues in the local community; the priests clung to the sacrificial system of the Temple. The Zealots wanted the foreign rulers and their soldiers out, no matter the cost. Was Jesus The One to make their dreams come true?
    No, as far as they could see, Jesus was not of the royal kingly families, nor was he a priest, an educated rabbi, or even a military leader. Rather, he was   perceived to be a threat to their hopes and security, so they arranged to have the Romans crucify Jesus. Executed men cause no trouble.
    Where are they now,  priest and king, rabbi and zealot?    Gone!
            Yet the carpenter’s son, whom they crucified, arose from the dead. He was the prophet, priest and king they longed for, and didn’t recognize. He fit God’s image, but not their image, of the Messiah,.
    He died, and rose again, and salvation for all people became a reality.
March 31, 2002

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