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Tavern Talk #64 - The Truths of Easter

As is customary for The Tavern, we tend to focus on the Gospels, particularly passages that others might find hit too close to home or make people uncomfortable. Given the Bible’s history, I think it is fair to say that every part of it is included for some reason. Our challenge? Finding that meaning which is consistent with the themes God clearly intended.


Our Easter passage is no different.



In Matthew’s perspective on the crucifixion and resurrection we find some interesting viewpoints – those of the Roman soldiers.


First, given all they witnessed at Jesus’s death – the darkness, what Jesus said and did, the earth’s trembles, etc. – they come to believe that Jesus was indeed the son of God. Those soldiers were probably reassigned.


Our focus for Easter – Jesus’s resurrection – deals with some other soldiers. The religious leaders were afraid that Jesus’s followers would steal his body from its tomb and then declare that Jesus had risen from the dead as he said he would. They asked the Roman Governor to prevent that from happening. So, he posted some guards at the tomb, who sealed the stone which had been rolled across the opening and then stood guard. When Mary Magdelene and “the other” Mary came out to the tomb the next day, the earth again trembled, the stone rolled away, and a shiny angel perched atop it. The guards were so afraid that they passed out. The angel told the Marys that Jesus was alive and that they should go tell his disciples. On their way, they ran into Jesus.


Meanwhile, the guards came to and realized their precarious position. They had been instructed to prevent this from happening. The Romans weren’t known for their HR policies. There would be no “progressive discipline” or “performance improvement plans” for them. Afraid for their lives, or perhaps amazed (as their brethren at the crucifixion had been), they went to see the religious leaders. Instead of giving them some soul-satisfying, faith-affirming blessing, they gave them lots of money and told them to keep their mouths shut. Obviously, someone didn’t as we know the story today (and it had spread widely at the time Matthew recorded it, as he so interestingly noted).


What does this mean for us?


The Truth of Jesus (what he said and did) cannot be denied, covered up, or shut down. From the very inception, great effort was put forth to do just that. It didn’t work. And efforts that continue to this day haven’t and won’t work either. That should tell us something about its truth. We should find hope and inspiration in that fact.


“Religious” people, even leaders, may go to great lengths to avoid the Truth and make the narrative fit their purposes. We should expect it but not be deterred, dismissed, dejected, nor demeaned by it. If the Truth doesn’t fit one’s beliefs, learnings, or politics, it cannot be denied. Yet, many will try. We must be confident in our relationship with God to stand firm.

So what are we to do? Our relationship with God is personal. That is the whole point of Jesus death and resurrection. He allows us to have a personal relationship with God. If our desire is to meet God halfway – to accept his grace and eagerly seek him – then the Truth will be known to us. We don’t have to rely on what others are telling us that God wants. We have prayer and we have the Bible. I firmly believe that time spent with the Gospels in prayer, with God’s grace, will make the Truth clear to anyone who seeks it.


We cannot let anyone separate us from the love of God.


We cannot let anyone separate us from loving others, just as Jesus clearly said and did. Everyone.


As John said, “The light shines in the darkness. And the darkness has not overcome it.”


No matter how dark the world may seem nor how confusing of difficult having a relationship with God may be prescribed by others, the Light – the Truth – is right there for the understanding.


Peace!


Further Readings:

Matthew 27-28

John 1:5


April Music (links via Spotify)

April Reading Suggestion (link via Goodreads)

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