Saturday, April 23, 2011

Something overlooked.

There are some fabulous films about the life of Jesus, which show the crucifiction, and his resurrection. They often render the Gospel fairly accurately, as far as I can see. "The suffering of the Christ" was one of the best ever, I reckon.
But none of them has ever shown one particular thing which would make awesome viewing if it was done properly.
In Matthew's Gospel, we hear the following, from Chapter 27 verses 51 to 53.
"At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.The earth shook and the rocks split. THE TOMBS BROKE OPEN AND THE BODIES OF MANY HOLY PEOPLE WHO HAD DIED WERE RAISED TO LIFE. THEY CAME OUT OF THE TOMBS, AND AFTER JESUS' RESURRECTION THEY WENT INTO THE HOLY CITY AND APPEARED TO MANY PEOPLE." (
My emphasis added.
I've never seen that part of the account included in any film made of the events. And if a film director ever did, can you imagine the effect? It would need to be done properly, so that it didn't look like a zombie flick or a take on 'The mummy walks,' but so that it made the point properly. The dead shall rise, not like a horror show but in the final conquest of death.
Imagine being there. You knew someone who died, you saw them dead, you knew there was no mistake. They were no longer living in the body.
Then you saw them, walking around, leaving footprints, with a pulse, and they spoke to you and greeted you. You received your dead back.
That was part of what it is all about. Jesus came back to like, having been provably deceased, and was seen. He shared food, spoke to people, and invited Thomas to touch Him and prove that He was real.
Awesome.
Come to that, remember what happened to Mary and Martha. They lost their brother Lazarus, and before he actually died they kept begging Jesus to come and heal him.
When Jesus finally arrived, Lazarus was in the tomb. Jesus called on them to open the tomb and the sisters said, "Don't, Lord. He's been dead four days and there will be a stink." Jesus insisted, and when they opened up the grave, Lazarus answered Jesus when He said, "Lazarus, come forward."
It could make the hair on the back of your neck stand up; or it could leave you right off the ground with exultation.
The dead are no longer dead. It is a stage, not a final condition. The grave is not the end.
Every human that ever lived will rise again, even if they've been dead so many centuries that their physical bodies have turned back to dust, been recycled through plants that grew, animals that ate it and whateve happens in the natural cycles. They will stand there, alive again. And then if they believed Jesus, they will be free from the limits and sufferings of the flesh for ever and ever.
Jesus started it, when He was abominably tortured to death, descended to Hell, and broke open its gates because the evil one could not keep Him there. And the escape route, the breakout from Satan's vile kingdom, passed to us all. We will rise, and we will see God face to face, 'Death, THOU shalt die'. (John Donne).
Donne wrote as a Christian in penning that line. And the Godpel showed it, centuries before.
The Resurrection will come. The Second Coming will be. Come again, Lord Jesus.

2 comments:

Jenny B. said...

Yes!

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

I love the Gospel of John;c20 v7 where it tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes. The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed at the head of the coffin.

To understand the meaning of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant relationship, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.

When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not touch that table until the master was finished.

Now if the master were finished eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and screw up the napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table for in those days the screwed napkin meant, “I have finished”. But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it aside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because the servant knew that the folded napkin meant, “I’m not finished yet.” The folded napkin meant, “I’m coming back”.

Peter must have been riveted to the spot when he saw the folded napkin in the tomb, folded in the way he had seen Jesus fold it many times before.

Often overlooked as well!