But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. (verses 11-12)
I love the straightforward honesty of the Scriptures. The disciples, receiving this unbelievably good news from the women, opt for unbelief. The news is so good, they take it as nonsense. Of course. Who wouldn’t? And yet, because we as the readers have the whole story laid out in front of us, we see the wonder – and it grows.
Peter, impetuous as ever, allows curiosity to spark engagement. So, he up and runs to the grave site. Again, with the Scripture’s clear-sighted honesty, we see what he sees (empty grave-clothes) and feel his dazed bewilderment as he walks away puzzled.
It is in John’s Gospel we discover that John himself was also there, alongside Peter, entering the grave second, seeing the same sights, but allowing wonder to settle into solid belief (John 20:8).
This, of course, is where all the Gospel-writers want us to land, but they tell the story as it unfolds, not forcing the issue, allowing the wonder to befuddle before it convicts.
The two disciples en route to Emmaus encounter the risen Lord, but don’t recognize him at all. Not while he taught them passionately from the scriptures. Not when he came into the lighted house, round the table. Not until he took bread in hand, lifted his voice to give thanks, broke it in such a familiar way and put it their own hands – then they saw. Then their eyes were opened. And he was gone.
The Eleven, and those with them gathered in that upper room, were startled and frightened at his appearing. But their initial conclusion was that he was a ghost. His words of rebuke didn’t fully change their perception. “Touch me,” he said, showing them hands and feet. Still they found belief hard to embrace. It wasn’t until he asked for a piece of fish, and ate in their presence, that reality seemed to settle in.
Then he opened their minds. They understood the Scriptures. They got it. The Christ would suffer, then rise from the dead on the third day. Yes!
Later, outside the city, having said their goodbyes, he left them and was taken up into heaven. But truth had settled in. They worshipped with great joy. They stayed continually at the Temple, waiting for the promised Holy Spirit. And they praised God.
And then the story continued (see Acts!).
Praise you, Risen Lord! You have fulfilled the promise! You have suffered and died and risen! You have brought repentance and forgiveness of sins to all nations. Praise your name.
I embrace your truth. I worship with joy. I accept your mission. I receive your Spirit.
Praise you, Risen Lord!
Give thanks: Throughout this day, stop again and again to give thanks. With great joy. Praising God. Blessing the Risen Saviour.