Life Notes—April 21, 2011
The next day…the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, “Sir, we remember what that imposter said while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore command the tomb to be made secure until the third day…” Matthew 27:62-64a
I played in rock bands as a teenager. Without getting too deep into electrical jargon, my band days taught painful lessons about “polarity pixies.” These mysterious, mischievous and invisible creatures doled out electrical shocks, apparently whenever we did not pay appropriate homage to the electricity Gods. Trust me, nothing spells shame and humiliation like catching the eye of a cute female in the audience, only to be reduced to tears by a mini lightening bolt arcing between the microphone and your lips.
For leaders of the first centuryTemple, nothing spelled shame and humiliation like Jesus. Because they refused to believe the possibility of his Lordship they continually put themselves in situations where they ended up looking shockingly petty and incompetent. They, like most Jews, were expecting a Messiah but could not accept it might be someone with his peasant background, simple lifestyle and suspect social status. This unwillingness to believe led to a series of confounding miscalculations, all of which put them on the shameful, humiliating side of reality; as if they were plagued by pixies.
In the scripture above, theTempleleaders tried to insure no tricks would be played by Jesus’ disciples. They feared the disciples would steal the dead body from the tomb to make it look as if Jesus had risen from the dead, as he said he would do. So they went to Pilate, the Roman governor, and requested the tomb be guarded until the third day to prevent such shenanigans. Pilate granted their wish, but on the third day the tomb was empty, anyway. Can you say, “You can’t keep a good man down?”
In spite of their efforts to keep Jesus dead in his grave, on that morning the tomb was empty and Jesus was alive! This must have been the ultimate shame for the religious elite because they couldn’t get the upper hand, even after they’d had him crucified. Of course those who believe know God will not be cornered, tricked, outsmarted or defeated. Denying God’s reality doesn’t change our life experience, it only makes it more confounding. TheTempleleaders’ denial of Christ’s deity couldn’t keep Jesus dead in the tomb. Still today, that empty tomb signifies his Lordship and our salvation!
This Sunday is Easter. Tom’s downtown sermon is “Easter People,” based on Matthew 28:1-10. Some worship times have changed for Easter. Life worship begins at 9:30, and traditional worship is at 8:00 and 11:00 in the sanctuary. Mitch will be preaching at the west campus where worship services will be at 7:00, 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. He has risen from the dead—how about you?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator