Preoccupied Disciples

“He is risen, just as He said.”  We revisit this text every Easter for obvious reasons.  But this year, perhaps for the first time in my life, I actually managed to notice the second half of the angel’s statement:  “Just as He said.”

In Mark’s Gospel Jesus three times explains to His disciples that He must suffer and die and on the third day rise again.  The response of the disciples after each time is interesting.  After the first, Peter tries to correct Jesus and is swiftly rebuked.  Immediately after the second Mark tells us that the disciples were arguing about which of them was the greatest.  After the third, James and John come to Jesus and ask to sit at His right and left in glory.

Move forward a short time to the morning of the resurrection.  Still no one seems to have noticed the second half of Jesus’ statements. No one is expecting Him to rise again.  One would expect that perhaps one or two of His disciples would have gotten up early that Sunday morning just to see if anything happened.  The women are going to the tomb but they clearly expect to be tending to a corpse. Upon hearing the breathless report from the women Luke tells us that the disciples believe they are speaking nonsense!

How did they miss this?  “He has risen, just as He said!”  He couldn’t have been clearer.  He told them ahead of time exactly what would happen.  Could it be that they didn’t hear because they were preoccupied with other things?  Like who’s the greatest?

I think Jesus has said a lot of stuff that for various reasons I have missed.  Maybe I’m preoccupied.  Maybe I’ve never paid attention.  Maybe I’m willfully refusing to pay attention.  He’s been clear and if I have failed to notice it is my fault.  This insight had driven me to try to dig out from under all of my preoccupations.  But in spite of this I’m sure that there are many truths that will keep my asking, “How did I miss that?” long into eternity.

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