Resurrection came as a surprise.
We knew it was coming. We knew that however tragic the Easter story was, it would end with a “happily ever after” on Sunday. And so, the temptation for us is to fast-forward through Good Friday and Holy Saturday, to leap straight on to Resurrection Sunday—bring on the triumph and the praise (and the chocolate).
But however much we might like to fast-forward to Resurrection Sunday, the realities of life teach us that that’s an impossibility.
More than this though, we cannot skip over the brokenness, for the final resolution does not negate what went on before. Even the happiest of “happily ever after”s still carries with it the story that went before: the drama, the tension, and the hope that was lost before it was restored. This truth is marked clearly on the body of our triumphant Saviour: Jesus’ resurrection body is glorious, but it’s still wounded. It is the mark of the nails that he offers the disciples to prove that their “happily ever after” has come: he has defeated death and been raised to life again (John 20:19-29).
They had not been expecting this.
It is in to the middle of this that we live. He has been resurrected, but we have not yet. He lives in fullness of life, but we do not yet. He has defeated sin, death and shame, but we have not yet.
Death speaks and it still has a say in our world.
Sin speaks and it still has a say.
Shame speaks and it still has a say.
We live with the consequences of this every day—the brokenness of creation and the brokenness of humanity. But they do not have the last word. Death, sin and shame do not define either our ultimate destiny or our ultimate identity.
When shame whispers its lies, we can proclaim that “through the death of Christ in his physical body… [God] has brought [us] into his own presence, and [we] are holy and blameless as [we] stand before him without a single fault” (Colossians 1:22, NLT). And while we still struggle with sin every day, we have been rescued from the curse of sin (Galatians 3:13). Nothing… nothing!... can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, not even death itself (Romans 8:38).
But life doesn’t always look like what we might think. The risen Christ shows us that sometimes triumph carries brokenness within it. The wounds are present but they’re transfigured somehow. Transfigured as it all is taken up into the presence of God—the whole story taken up into love.
This resurrection life is the future destiny that we live in to. Every day, we carry triumph and brokenness, embedded in our stories and marked on our bodies.
This, however, is the last word: He is risen from the grave!
Hallelujah, God be praised!
Maja Whitaker, Lecturer in Practical Theology, School of Theology