Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Gentleness of the Risen Christ II

In the church of my upbringing, Easter Sunday was the liturgical highlight of the year.  The organist literally pulled out all the stops in fanfare; choristers of all ages, 4 to fourscore, crowded onto supplemental risers; orchestra with requisite trumpets supported the singers; Easter lilies and azaleas shouted their own silent alleluias from the steps.

We celebrated with grand spectacle "the Lord of life who triumphed o'er the grave/and rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save" (Matthew Bridges, "Crown Him with Many Crowns").  In truth, the wonder of Christ's Resurrection deserves the most glorious worship we can offer Him.

When I read the Gospels' accounts of the reality of the event, however, the quiet lack of spectacle astonishes me.  Jesus rises and shows Himself with the same unassuming humility He displayed in His birth.

Having laid down His life and taken it up again, the Good Shepherd seeks out His scattered sheep and calls them by name:

To Mary, weeping at the tomb, He comes as though a gardener.  She knows Him by the way He says her name.

To the fearful disciples hiding in a locked room, He enters speaking peace.

To the pilgrims on the Emmaus road, He comes as stranger and teacher of Torah.  They know Him in His breaking of the bread at supper.

To Thomas the doubter, He puts His finger on the questions Thomas didn't know He heard. Thomas knows Him by His wounds and His knowledge of his heart.

To Peter the demoralized, who vowed that even if everyone else abandoned Him, he never would, Peter who denied Him three times shortly thereafter, Peter who chucks three years of discipleship and goes back to the boats and the nets but finds disappointment follows him there, too--

To Peter He comes as the same Christ who called him.  Peter goes back to the beginning, and Jesus meets him there with another miraculous catch of 153 fish and breakfast on the beach.

No spectacle.  No divine special effects.  No trumpets.  Oh, but what tenderness!  The risen Christ makes Himself known to His children by the way He knows them yet seeks and loves anyway.

Wherever this finds you today, dear Crumble, weeping by the tomb, cowering in fear, held captive by stubborn doubts, too ashamed to continue on the road of discipleship, or even celebrating Resurrection joy, may the same Jesus who rose from the dead and sought His first followers seek and find you today.  May you recognize His voice in His word, His providence, and His people and follow where He leads you.

(Based Jesus' resurrection appearances recorded in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21)


  1. This is so very beautiful--filled with the aroma of Him! Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  2. You have some solid insights - thanks!

  3. our easter message centered on peter..on the denial and on the led me back there this morning in reading...thank you for the reminder of his tenderness and meeting us where we are...

  4. I so much love this post. Oh! And I have something to share about Peter. I read this book, recently, called _Wild Goose Chase_ by Mark Batterson, and you know that place, in scripture, where Jesus asks Peter 3x if he loves Him & instructs Peter to feed His sheep? Batterson looks at that as Jesus's recommissioning of Peter (i.e., since Peter denied 3x, he was then asked to proclaim his love 3x). I had never thought put the two Peter stories together that way. Had you?

  5. Enjoy your insights-- Jesus' tenderness as he quietly comes to each. And very interesting tidbit by Brandee above-- thanks for that, too!

  6. Loved this post!! Such beautiful insights, thank you!

  7. I'm so touched! Thank you for the blessing... I pray that he does show that mercy of finding me where I am.

  8. @AnneThank you, Anne. What a lovely compliment.

    If there's any real wisdom here, it's from God. So glad you came by.

  9. @Old Ollie: Thank you for coming by and taking time to leave feedback.

    @Brian Miller: When the same passage or idea suddenly appears all around me in diverse sources, I usually regard it as the Holy Spirit's voice. Mostly I like when that happens. May God grant us ears to hear.

    @Brandee, dear Brandee: Thank you for the reading idea. I have heard more than one preacher match the denials with the recommissioning, but I'm not familiar with the book you mention. (Didn't notice it on my own though.)

    Thanks for the reminder and for introducing pathoftreasure to that interpretation!

    @pathoftreasure: You remind me why I've left the comments open here, so we can learn from each other. Thank you for coming by again!

    @Rambling Heather: It's lovely to meet you. Thank you for coming by and letting me begin to know you.

  10. @Kati patrianoceu You are most welcome! Amen to your prayer. I am so glad the Lord specializes in seeking and finding.

  11. oh friend, this is powerful. for some reason it hadn't struck me before, this quietness of appearance... but he really lived it all, didn't he? everything he said, he did, and vice versa. thank you, for making me fall more in love with Jesus.

  12. Such beautiful perspectives on the amazing ways the risen Christ made Himself known. This especially touched me as we celebrated under different circumstances than usual, away from home. btw, thank you so much for your prayers for our Easter. As I read this I experience it as part of the answer to the prayers.

  13. @emily wierenga That's about the best compliment you could have offered me, that a post here made you fall more in love with Jesus. Thank you!

  14. @Amy Hello, friend. Thanks be to God for using me to answer one of my own prayers for you! His kindness is amazing me today. May He continue making His presence known to you in your explorings and tea-drinking. :)

  15. I love this. That our God refused to be relegated to spectacle, refused to be set apart but even in victory came to relate, to love, to comfort, Emmanuel still. I've never thought of these accounts in quite this way. Thank you.

  16. @Joybird "Even in victory came to relate, to love, to comfort, Emmanuel still"--what a wonderful way to put that! I'm so glad you stopped by today.

    This whole blogging community is still pretty new to me, and I'm finding it quite a mysterious, gracious gift how God brings souls together to learn from each other.

    Thank you, friend, for your insights and presence. The Lord be with you.


Thank you for sharing your day with me! Your presence here is a gift. *You* are a gift. Right now I am unable to reply to every comment, but please know I read and pray for each and every commenter. Grace and peace to you in Christ.