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Pastor's Notes from The Scribe (March 2013)

posted Mar 2, 2013, 11:40 AM by Punxsy Lutheran Parish Pastor

It’s not quite time to unbury the “Alleluias” from underneath our altars.  We are still in the season of Lent.  We continue our journey with Jesus to Jerusalem – the journey that will end in his passion and crucifixion.  Yet, we hold onto that promise, graciously given to us by God, that death is not the end.  Out of passion, crucifixion and death comes resurrection.  And through our baptisms into Christ’s death and resurrection, we have the promise of salvation and life!  This is the Easter promise we will celebrate on March 31… but we are not quite there.

Since the Lent and Easter seasons will overlap slightly in this March issue of the Scribe, I thought we could examine the resurrection narratives as part of our Lenten devotion and renewal.  The resurrection narratives witness to Jesus commissioning his disciples (following their encounters with him in his resurrected form).  This commissioning by Jesus was not solely for his first disciples.  This commissioning is for all of us who followed after those first disciples.  So, let us take a look at the four gospel narratives to discover and be renewed by what Jesus calls us to do as his followers who share his life, death and resurrection in word and deed.

1.       Mark’s Resurrection narrative – This account ends rather abruptly in Mark.  The female followers of Jesus, on hearing the good news that he is not there and has been raised, run from the tomb.  The gospel states, “…for terror and bewilderment had seized them.  And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”  That’s where it ends!  (Even though you might be thinking, ‘Well pastor, there are 12 more verses to Mark’s gospel!’ Nevertheless, that was a much later addition to Mark’s conclusion.)  Yet, these women must have told someone!  Otherwise, how would we have this gospel witness that influenced the writing of Matthew and Luke?  This narrative teaches us that we are called to continue the story of the good news of Jesus Christ.  Even when we are terrified and bewildered by the implications Jesus’ resurrection has for our lives, we are commissioned to share the good news that God raises the dead and brings salvation to this world. 

2.       Matthew’s Resurrection narrative – This account concludes with a well-known phrase: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Here we hear that we are commissioned to “go,” “make disciples,” “baptize” and “teach.”  And, as we fulfill this holy calling, Jesus promises to be with us every step of the way!

3.       Luke’s Resurrection narrative – In this account, Jesus opens the disciples’ minds to understand the Scriptures: that Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection has been fulfilled.  Jesus then continues by telling the disciples that repentance and forgiveness would be proclaimed to all nations, beginning in Jerusalem.  The disciples are to act as witnesses to all they had seen, heard and experienced.  And, part of their commissioning was to call people to repentance before God where they could experience the forgiveness found in Christ’s death and resurrection. 

4.       John’s Resurrection narrative – In this account, there is an exchange between Jesus and Peter.  Jesus asks Peter three times, “Peter, do you love me?”  Peter replies, “Yes Lord, you know that I do.”  Jesus replies by saying, “Feed my lambs,” “Shepherd my sheep,” or “Feed my sheep.”  In this exchange we hear how Jesus calls us (like he called Peter) to feed and shepherd his flock.  Jesus entrusts us with the care of one another.  We are to nourish one another with physical and spiritual food.  We are to care for one another by tending to the needs of others and calling people back to Jesus’ love and forgiveness found in his death and resurrection.

As you continue your journeys through this Lenten season, I encourage you to examine these resurrection accounts for yourselves (Mark 16, Matthew 28, Luke 24 and John 20 & 21).  Take some time to meditate on, reflect upon, and even pray them.  Through your prayer and meditation, you may find your minds being opened up to a deeper understanding of what God in Christ calls you to do!

In Christ ~ Pastor Maureen