Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome enter the tomb, come into the grieving room and it is there that they encounter a young man, dressed in white, who tells them two important things. First, don’t be afraid. And second, the Jesus that you seek is no longer contained by this tomb, is no longer contained by death. He has risen. Look! See for yourself! Jesus is not here. The women have received from this messenger, the news of Christ’s resurrection! Life is suddenly anything but usual!
No longer is Jesus a memory. Now He is a presence – a presence that will meet them in Galilee. A presence that will meet us wherever Jesus can find us. Meet us, and embrace us!
No longer is Jesus an historical figure destined to fade into the annals of the history books – known only when we decide to read. Now Jesus has regained His eternal nature and can be encountered again and again by the faithful!
But perhaps most importantly, the messenger tells the women explicitly to tell the disciples AND PETER that Jesus is alive. The tomb could not hold him. Sin could not keep him. Death was defeated. Guilt has been conquered by grace and Peter – Peter, the one who had denied Jesus three times – Peter was not dead in his betrayal.
This is hardly business as usual. Jesus could have said anything. Jesus could have given any set of instructions. But Jesus undoubtedly knew of Peter’s agony over his betrayal of Jesus. Jesus wants to make sure that Peter knows that betrayal is not the final word – resurrection is!
It’s Sunday morning. It is really early. We might be tired from the events of Friday night and Saturday. We may be feeling numb from past disappointments and our own betrayals. But friends, it is Easter! The tomb is empty. We may deserve condemnation but instead we are met with grace and compassion. We may deserve harsh words and endless acts of contrition trying to earn our way back into God’s good graces. THAT would be business as usual.
But thankfully, God’s business is love, not anger. God’s business is grace, not judgment. God’s business is restoration not a pound of flesh. Love, grace, restoration – THAT is business as usual for God!