‘The Empty Tomb’ by George Richardson – available for purchase here: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/the-empty-tomb-george-richardson.html
It is well attested in the New Testament that God raised Jesus to life (1 Cor 6:14, Eph 1:20, Acts 4:10 and others). Jesus didn’t raise himself. In fact, the book of Acts alone contains almost a dozen references to the truth that God the Father raised Jesus to life. Acts is the second part of Luke’s gospel. My friend Sarah, a bonafide Lukan scholar says that in Luke’s Gospel the main actor is God, often unseen, but always at work. So it is in his second book. In Acts, the work of God the Father as resurrector is clear for all to see.
So what’s my point? Well Jesus didn’t kill himself. He allowed himself to be taken and killed. He chose powerlessness over control. So it is in his resurrection. Unlike many of our triumphalist songs declare, it wasn’t Jesus that defeated death, but God in raising Jesus from the dead. Now this might seem like a pedantic point to be labouring, but I think it means Jesus is just as powerless in his resurrection as he is in his death He allowed the violence of the Sanhedrin and Roman justice to be mete out on him, resulting in the cross. He surrendered to his Father’s will to face this suffering. He doesn’t then burst out of the grave of his own resolve and strength. He remains powerless, and in this powerlessness he allows the Father’s resurrection love to reach and raise him.
So, again, what’s my point? Well if we are to be people of the resurrection, we may do well to remember the one who pioneered this path for us did so in the way of powerlessness. Submission and meekness was not a phase that Jesus went through that he then cast aside after Calvary, revealing the new and improved ‘Kick-Butt Jesus 2000’(patent pending). Jesus remains submitted and surrendered to the will of his Father. His Father raises him and grants him all glory and authority.
If we are to be people of the resurrection, it will not be because we master power, but because we relinquish it. It won’t be because we battle death and brokenness and come out on top. Resurrection will be more of a possibility when we lose that fight. It will not be because we finally get our relationship with authority and control right. It will be because we give it up altogether and let God raise us. Our powerlessness is no more an obstacle to resurrection than Jesus’ was. And the raising will come to us unbidden and unexpected. It will come to us in the aftermath of our greatest defeat, when all our reputations and strengths have been exposed and destroyed. Yet it will come, silent and sure as the dawn.
So let us welcome our Risen King, who remains the servant of all.