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Lent Day 40

April 4, 2015

A rock. A boulder. Cold and gray, smooth and rough to the touch. It blocks the entrance to Jesus’ tomb. Even if I could push it away, my Jesus would still be dead. Only when he died, did others recognize that he was the Son of God.

Matthew 27: 50-54 (NRSV) 50 Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split.52 The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53 After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

Matthew 28: 62-66 (NRSV) explains that fear about Jesus’ promise to rise from the dead in three days prompted Pilate, the chief priests and the Pharisees to secure the tomb. Seemingly they weren’t confident that Jesus was just a ‘foolish man,’ yet they still didn’t recognize his might and God’s might.

Are we really any different? It is hard to wrap our human brains around this power. And despite our faith, do we also at times use a boulder to seal the tomb? To separate us from God’s power? Perhaps so we can ignore God or cherry-pick what we like about faith in God?

Maybe when we insert our human-made rules that we say we base on faith or the Bible, we seal the tomb. God’s rules are pretty simple. Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-11 NRSV). The greatest of these is love.

Matthew 22:36-40 (NRSV)

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Still, in our humanness, we continue to ignore His commandments or twist them to fit our needs. In doing that, I think it’s possible we continue to seal Jesus’ tomb.

That adds to my sadness on this Day Two of Jesus’ death. When, or will, we all – around the world – accept God and these simple commandments? Wouldn’t it make life abundantly easier for everyone?

As I pause today to think about Jesus’ death, I need to ponder what it is I can do to help make this change. I can start only with myself and with God’s help, I can make a difference. Like the tiniest motion that begins to roll away the rock, my change can help unseal the tomb.

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