Posts Tagged Terror
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid. [NRSV]
The oldest copies of the book of Mark end the story at this point, at verse 8.
In reading the whole book of Mark there is a series of points where Jesus reveals the news about his identity and he tells the disciples to keep quiet and not tell anyone.
At least six times, Jesus tells folks to keep quiet:
- At Jesus Baptism, before anyone could respond to God’s voice, “”You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
- The Evil Spirit’s know him 1.24 and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.
- And Jesus cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him. 1.34
- While healing a man with Leprosy 1.41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
- On the Mountain of Transfiguration 9: 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.
- Healing the Blind man 10:46Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!
In reading the whole book of Mark as one story and not verse-by-verse, we would see this is in fact the seventh time Jesus’ true identity is reveal and the young man, dressing a white robe, a heavenly messenger is declaring the news.
So now at the pinnacle of story revealed in the face of the empty tomb. Those who see the empty tomb and hear the first word, first hand..
They are told to GO TELL!
And, they who know the Good News, Trust and Clear: They say nothing because of fear.
The Power of Fear
Terror and Amazement seized them: We live in a time where we hear daily about the unbelievable and amazingly horrific terrorism in the world and we can’t believe it.
Remember the words at Jesus’s birth from the angels to the shepherd, “Be Not Afraid, for here is GOOD NEWS, for the world.”
LEAVE THIS PLACE AND TELL EVERYONE
He is Risen!! He lives in Me and Lives in You!!
Tell seven people today… Jesus lives in me.
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [NRSV]
Were Pharaoh’s armies and demands able separate God from God’s people? No! Did God cut off Job at any point? No! Did God stop being God when David and Solomon ruled as kings? No! Did God stop loving Israel when they were driven out of Jerusalem to Babylon? No!
Did a cross separate us from God? No.
Did Pilate, Herod, or Caiaphas separate us from Jesus Christ our Lord?
Did a civil war? or Pearl Harbor? Or Did 9/11 tear God away from us? No!!
Can Presidents, political parties and governments?
Hurricanes, Floods, Fires and Tornados stop God’s love
Can guns, bombs or fear and hatred of any kind keep God from being God?
Then, What in the world do we have to fear?
But God never let’s go of God’s end of the rope.
Tug of War: One side over powers and the other side finally relents and falls down. God never lets go of God’s end of the covenant.
God is faithful in holding on to us.
Nothing will cause God to let go.
Separation is real. Why do people feel so alone in this world?
Why do people hurt each other through domestic violence, political violence, take financial advantage, why would people commit acts of terror if God never let’s go of them?
There is one thing that can separate “us” from God, that is us. God allows room for evil. God allows room for division. God allows room for choice.
Without there is no meaning to life for us or for God. If God made us be good always we would not be human. We would have no relationship.
God allows the horrible to make room for the beautiful.
God allows the famine to appreciate the bounty
God allows terror and fear to make room for trust and peace..
It’s neither appropriate nor accurate for us to blame God for evil.
It is simply part of the dynamics of grace, trust, faith and love.
Can God love someone who values the lives, property and security of communities and nations so little? That is the point. God is grand enough to love prodigal brothers.
If God has room in the heart to hold on to the most evil of folk, then God surely has room for us too.
If God only holds on to the faithful, Lord who would be left.
If God only entrusted those who proved themselves worthy, who would make it?
But how do we deal with the loss, the chaos, the death of trust and lives?
The answer is way too easy… We stand closer to God.
We need to be near God and God’s people and
Take seriously the call to be broadcasting the message of love and hope
-even in the most evil of times.
When we hear of bombs and explosions, think of who search for meaning..
Show them the way, don’t lead them astray.
When we hear of wars, storms and threats of warn, it is time to prepare people to be in a closer walk with God, Who needs to be recued, until we realize we are stranding by a flood… Gather the lost who are trapped and only see it in the tragic light where darkness shines.
If the bombs had gone off in Jackson instead of Boston, what would we hope the people in Boston would be doing today?
Do we hope they would say a little prayer and move on with life trying not to think about the tragic loss? We would want and need more than that!
The folks in Boston and Watertown and West/Waco, and Jackson/Butts Co. need to wake up to the reality that we live in a broken world and need someone who can put the piece together when life is torn apart.
We need a God who knows the pain of nails in broken limbs and torture of a cross to face, endure and survive beyond the chaos.
Did they stop Jesus then? No. Will they stop him now? No. Who will tell and show them? Just one at a time…
One person begin inspired another person to act in terror, we can be one person inspiring another to join Christ in building peace and life and love.