When I was a little girl, I loved to explore in the woods.
One day I came across a cicada clinging to a tree trunk. Except this insect didn’t look alive: its body was transparent, and it never moved.
What was wrong with the cicada, I wondered?
I finally realized that I wasn’t looking at a live bug, but rather at its discarded exoskeleton.
When it’s time for a nymph cicada to turn into an adult, it clings to a tree and sheds its outer body. The abandoned shell remains, still clinging to the bark of the tree, while the “reborn” cicada flies off.
My mistake that day?
I was looking for the living among the dead.
Some of the Jesus’ followers made the same error.
Luke 24 tells us that several of them went to the tomb where His body had been laid after His crucifixion:
“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”
The women were initially confused, and wondered what on earth had happened. While they were deliberating about what to do, two angels suddenly appeared in dazzling clothes that gleamed like lightning. The angels said to them:
“ ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.” ’ Then they remembered his words.”
The women hadn’t really absorbed Jesus’ promise that He would rise from the dead. So they made the mistake of trying to find His body at its last known address, a borrowed tomb.
But a tomb was the wrong place to look for Jesus. That dark and dreadful grave had no hope of keeping the Son of God contained.
On the third day He was resurrected, vanquishing death and triumphantly bursting forth from the tomb, fully alive.
And Jesus is still alive today. He’s alive permanently, forever!
“But because Jesus lives forever, his priesthood lasts forever. Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:24-25)
Our God is a living God. He isn’t a vanished deity from the ancient past who is still worshipped merely out of tradition.
Nor is Jesus merely a man who told some clever parables and performed some astounding miracles, but who died for good 2,000 years ago.
Our triune God is a living being with whom you can have an actual relationship. He is alive today, loves you, and wants to get to know you.
So don’t even bother looking for Jesus in any graveyard. He simply can’t be found there.
And don’t make the mistake of thinking Jesus can be confined to the history books, like philosophers or teachers from millennia gone by.
He is alive! Don’t look for the living among the dead!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.