The Lord of the Rubble
Strange times – illness, tragedy, mysteries, invasion – not your typical serene springtime Easter celebration, but neither was that first Easter! Now, like then, depending on what has grabbed your attention, it is easy today to be “afraid yet filled with joy.” We need to make sure our focus is on the risen savior!
Colossians 1:15-17 “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” NIV
Jesus’ death is recorded in Matthew like this:
Matt. 27:45 ff “From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). … and when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. … when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” NIV
What does Colossians have to do with Easter? – maybe the beauty of creation, but no, those last six words – “in him all things hold together” – you see, on Good Friday when Jesus died, things slipped!
Research on core samples of Dead Sea mud in 2012 showed that there was a strong earthquake in AD 33. Jewish tradition tells that the massive brass doors of the temple that took twenty men to open and close were flung open, the doorframe broken and the veil torn from top to bottom. The high priest tore his garments … God responded spectaculalry!
Now, think about this, if the massive temple of Herod suffered this damage … what of the rest of Jerusalem? Violent aftershocks were still rocking the city when Mary and Mary Magdalene approached the tomb at dawn on the third day. Trauma and shock mixed with grief were everywhere in Jerusalem that morning … but in the middle of all this upheaval, heavenly things were happening! Angels appeared and delivered astonishing messages of hope, guards were slain in the spirit … the women were leaving “afraid yet filled with joy” and then Jesus appeared! Isn’t that just how Jesus comes to us? All the upheaval and trauma of our lives and then the Glowing One comes. He is risen! He is risen indeed!