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Resurrection Meditation, Robinson College  Chapel, 27th April 2019

Why was the resurrection a shock?


Jesus had warned his followers that he would be resurrected.

Why were they shocked when his words came true?

Ancient scriptures had spoken of resurrection.

Jesus had promised resurrection.

Lazarus had undergone resurrection.

But nobody expected it.


People expected death.

The companions of Jesus knew death.

Life expectancy was 18.

The population was young.

People died early.

And they did not die well.

People died.

Their loved ones saw it happen. They felt the consequences.

Death was a fact of life.

They knew death.


Yes, they believed in resurrection:

At some future date, the whole creation was to be remade.

In some future epoch, a great resurrection would see all truth prevail, all wrongs put right, all injustices resolved.

At the end of time, all would be resurrected – all would be well.

They believed in resurrection.

But they knew death.


They had seen death, the death of the one they had followed.

They had seen his agonising, lonely death.

Grotesque and unjust.

And they grieved, and mourned, and wept.

All the horrors of death made their dreaded intrusions.

All the horrors of this death engulfed all.

For those who had loved this Jesus, grief was all they had left.


And now, even that grief was taken from them.

They knew death.

And now even that knowledge was taken from them.

And with it, their knowledge of the universe collapsed.

As Jesus was restored to them, much was thereby lost.

Joy and pain, stability and order, much that is treasured or assumed.

All that is certain, and all that gives confidence.  The ground beneath our every step.  All that can be taken for granted.


Resurrection is a brutal thief.

Who, in their right mind, would believe it?

It is a thief in the night, shocking even those who expect it.