Bishop Karowei writes…
In the hours after the crucifixion, the Disciples of Jesus Christ, aware of the devious nature of the opposition gathered together in hiding behind firmly locked doors. They had seen the itinerant ministry of the Messiah come to an abrupt end in the climatic events of that holy week during the Jewish Passover.
Their thoughts, expectations and vision of justice and equality and the realisation of the new Kingdom he spoke about had not come to fruition. There was indeed great confusion, anxiety and uncertainty amongst them about the future of this new ideology and new religious movement and its followers. Their leader, Jesus Christ has been cruelty taken from them by the combined actions of the Romans, who were aided and abetted by the Jewish religious leaders.
The Jewish leaders went before the Roman Governor and stage managed the trial of Christ who was sentenced to die though innocent and they ensured the release of Barabbas who was guilty of insurrection against Rome and deserved to die. He was sentenced to die by crucifixion by Pontus Pilatus, the Roman Governor of Judea. The prophecies of the suffering Messiah were taking place in front of their eyes, and, they did not realise it at the time. The crucified Christ was laid in a borrowed tomb, belonging to a Joseph from Arimathea, in fulfilment of Holy Scriptures.
Against this backdrop, after the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome brought spices to the tomb of Jesus (Mark 16:1-9). It was very early in the morning, they set out at sunrise. The women were clearly very purposeful, intentional and proactive. They were determined and with a mission.
“Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance?” they asked themselves. As they got closer they found the stone rolled back and the tomb empty. A young man told them, ‘He is not here, He is Risen’. They returned to tell the other disciples about what they had seen and heard.
As the shell-shocked and scared disciples thought about what they had heard, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to them and said ‘Shalom’ which means ‘Peace be with you’. Christ pronounced peace on them in their troubled state of mind and being.
There are a few concluding thoughts I would like to reflect on;
- Christ spoke peace to them and His peace ruled over their anxiety, worry and fears. The situation is like the ones we face in our lives everyday, when things are beyond our control and we become stressed, naturally so, and the panic button is hit consciously or unconsciously. In those times we can turn our worries, anxieties, fears, stresses into prayer and give God an opportunity to support, collaborate with us, assist us, in dealing with the situation at hand and his peace will be in our hearts.(Philippians 4:6-8)
- Christ showed that he loved them so deeply and unconditionally despite their shortcomings and lapses in faith. He came alongside the disciples and stood amongst them and breathed peace on them. He also travelled with the two disciples - Cleopas and his friend, who were on their way to Emmaus. As pilgrims and fellow travellers on our journey of faith, it is heart warming and reassuring to know that Christ unconditionally loves us and died for our sins, he travels with us in our journey and is with us as promised. (Matthew 28:20b)
- *Christ then commissioned them to be agents of God’s mission. “You are witnesses of these events spoken of in Holy Scriptures, you must go and tell”. (Luke 24:45-48; Acts 1:8f)
However, it goes to show that the post-Easter story talks of two main kinds of faith; Faith that needs to touch, feel and grow through a relationship with Jesus Christ and Faith that believes without seeing and is confident to follow Jesus Christ without all the answers to their questions.(avoid risk of being misled by false teachers as often happens today-Acts 17:11)
We need to listen to his word in Holy Scriptures, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and develop a real friendship and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We are People of the Easter Faith, a resurrection people who have passed from death to life, with Hearts on Fire, Walking Closely with Jesus Christ, Welcoming All and Growing in faith and numbers.