The earliest Christians followed a Jewish tradition of pausing to pray, preferably together, first thing in the morning, about mid morning, at noon, about mid afternoon, and in the evening. “Just a Note” posts are brief observations made from Scripture readings not related to a lectionary. If I have one to post, it normally appears about 9:00 in the morning, at “the hour of prayer.”
In John 20 we reach the first day of the week after Jesus’ crucifixion. Notice that the disciples have no expectation whatsoever that Jesus will rise from the dead, despite his numerous mentions of the idea. As far as they were concerned, once he was arrested and delivered to the Romans, the game was over.
The disappearance of the body is reported by two women. Their testimony would not even be valid in a court of law. The incredible story is carried to the grieving disciples by two witnesses who lacked credibility themselves. And even then, the truth is concealed. Everyone assumes that somebody took the body away, that Jesus remained dead.
Upon investigation, Peter and John find something truly amazing. This was no work of a grave robber. The grave robber who took the body would snatch and run. But here, the winding strips which were wrapped around the body were left, apparently still wound up. The flat cloth which was used to cover the face was folded up and set elsewhere. Although it is impossible, it looks exactly like a resurrection in which the formerly dead Jesus left his winding cloths without having to unwind himself, then took the face cloth and set it down neatly before leaving the premises. This should be enough to boggle anyone’s mind.
The disciples, according to John, who was there, didn’t yet understand that Jesus was going to rise from the dead. Therefore they didn’t understand what they saw. They went away, confused.
God’s actions are often not something we understand readily. We go away confused. However, as we investigate, wait, and trust, normally we find that understanding will follow. Many times the truth is received by faith, then proved by experience in light of that faith.
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