(some content ed. and reposted from 2015)
Imagine the devastation the followers of Jesus must’ve felt the day after they laid his body in the grave. No hope that tomorrow would bring anything to calm their grief. No hope that they would see Jesus again. No hope that Rome would ever be defeated. No hope that love would win the day. Three days of mental anguish for the followers of Jesus, three days of nightmares and torture for those who watched him mercilessly beaten and bloodied, three days of absolute silence…
The miracles? Memories.
The sermons? Echoes.
By the third day, life likely began to gain some sort of semblance of normal for the followers of Christ. His mother, once unconsolable, finally started to get some sleep, albeit interrupted by the recurring nightmare of her son, beaten and bloody, stretched out on a cross for all to mock and revile. The smell of his blood as she carried him to the tomb likely still permeated her senses, and the sounds of the cries of her child indelibly burned into her mind. Never mind claims that he was the Son of God, he was her son. The boy she had held within her womb, carried in her arms, nursed at her breasts, swaddled, changed, taught, loved, kissed, hugged, and gave her all for was now quickly becoming little more than a memory.
The ground had already shaken when he died, the temple veil torn in two revealing an empty holy of holies—showing us that the “presence of God” does not dwell in temples made with human hands. The rending of the veil is the revelation of the Kingdom of Heaven within humanity rather than stone. The rocks cry out, not because they wish to silence humanity, but because creation eagerly awaits the revealing of the children of God. They cannot contain it, they see what he has done, and with every step as Jesus walked out of the tomb they began to sing.
And then, nothing.
No miracles to speak of.
Something else happened after the resurrection, something that warrants our attention. I find it inspiring, vexing, somewhat hard to process, that Jesus seems to have lost all sense of his previous “mission” after the cross, all sense of evangelism after the grave, all sense of urgency after the resurrection. Gone are the parables of Gehenna, no more does he speak of hades, and never again do we hear a soul called lost (save the single use of ἀπόλλυμι-lost, perishing found in 2 Cor 4:3; the only time apollymi appears both outside the Gospels, and after the resurrection accounts).
Could it be that Jesus not only received the vindication of his soul, but also that of the host of hades? Could it be that resurrection signified the end of the age? Could it be that the great apocalypse of God had finally happened? That the grave had finally, once and for all, been both denied and overcome by love and forgiveness. That no longer would the wages of sin be exile. At this moment, the death of exile was complete. At this moment the proof that no amount of retribution will ever save the day. At this moment “it is appointed unto man(kind) once to die, and then the judgment” was transformed from prophecy to past-tense.
While those who knew him intimately longed for just one more moment with their friend, son, brother, and teacher; death was tasting its defeat.