What do you mean, “Jesus suffered, died, and rose again”?

Now that we’re on the other side of Easter, our sacred calendar takes us through the stories in the Gospels about Jesus’ various appearances to his disciples after his death in his resurrected form. A natural question to ask is “What on earth is going on here?” As well as, “What on earth does it mean?” Those are fair questions for us now, and they would have been fair questions for those in the 1st Century who either had these experiences or were sharing or hearing stories about them. “What do you mean they saw Jesus again?” and “What does it mean that Jesus rose from the dead?”

How to approach a mystery?

Consider this: Before Jesus’ death, the disciples were too afraid to stand with Jesus in his hour of need. Before Jesus’s death, they disavowed Jesus, too afraid of pain and death to risk being associated with the scapegoat. Just imagine how they would have felt about all right after his death – not only terrible grief from the violent loss of their beloved teacher, as well as continuing fear that they may be next, but also the guilt and shame of knowing that they hadn’t stood up for him or with him, they had been fearful bystanders – like most people are inclined to be, honestly – who did not intervene to try to prevent a horrible crime, the lynching of an innocent man, a holy man, their friend.

But then after Jesus’ death, all of this changes.

Read Rev. Nathaniel Mahlberg’s full sermon from April 7, 2024, here.