Jesus’ resurrection disrupts everything! Just when the disciples thought they knew what was what, Jesus changed things on them again. He’s alive, and not in the old Frankenstein movies sense of alive – when Dr Frankenstein declares of the monster, “He’s alive!” Jesus is alive, not in the raised from the dead but will die again Lazarus sense. Jesus is alive in the ascending to the oneness with the Father sense. But, I’m starting at the end of the story.
Starting at the beginning, Jesus’ presence is disruptive. When the angel appeared to Mary and announced that she would give birth to the messiah, her life was disrupted forever. So was the life of Joseph, her fiancé, and their families.
The lives of the Magi were disrupted when they noticed a special star and chose to pack up their gear and follow it. Their lives were further disrupted when they discovered that the child for whom they searched had been born to humble parents, and not to Herod in a palace.
The lives of the closest disciples were ever changed when they met Jesus. I believe that they lived in
, and on most days, they still worked at their usual businesses. And so they usually made day trips into the various towns and villages of the Capernaum Galilee from their home base. But these mission trips disrupted their working lives, and their also disrupted their understanding of God.
The everyday lives of people who were healed were disrupted. Because of their healing, they could earn a living and feed their families. They were no longer viewed as unclean, and were welcome in the temple again. Their lives were different after their disruptive encounters with Jesus.
When Mary Magdalene was healed of seven demons her old life was disrupted. She chose to follow Jesus and support him with her own money, as did several other women. Their lives, too, had been disrupted by their encounters with Jesus.
The lives of the leaders of the temple, the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and most likely many local rabbis were disrupted by Jesus as reports about him reached their ears. People were either pleased with him, or angry with him, and the leaders had to find ways to keep a close eye on him and respond to their people. All of the
Galilee must have been abuzz with news of Jesus disrupting lives in good or bad ways.
As Jesus gathered followers, many believed he was the messiah, sent to gather an army and get rid of the hated Romans. Their hopes were raised as they watched and waited for Jesus to begin his rebellion. But their hopes were disrupted because Jesus was not the messiah folks wanted him to be. Perhaps Judas was trying to force Jesus to be the messiah they were looking for. But this was not God’s plan.
The disciples’ plans were disrupted when Jesus insisted on going into
, even though he knew it was risky. “How could they keep him safe?” they wondered. “How could they protect him when he was determined to disrupt everything?” Jerusalem
Jesus disrupted the Passover meal by making strange comments, “This is my body; this is my blood.” These words disrupted the thousand-year-old ritual, and caused the disciples to wonder what Jesus meant. They would understand only after they had all the pieces to the puzzle, in three days.
All the disciples’ plans were disrupted when Jesus was arrested. They had warned him, but he wouldn’t listen. Now, how could they free him? How could they save him?
Peter’s life in particular was disrupted. The only way to free Jesus was to lie, and deny he knew Jesus. How could he get Jesus out of the clutches of the Jewish leaders and the Romans if he got caught, too?
Pilate’s life was disrupted as he was forced to deal with this revolutionary brought to him by the Jews. It was bad enough that he had to be in
with extra troops to deal with Passover crowds. But now he also had to handle this man brought to him by the Jewish leaders. By some accounts, Pilate is quite ready to put the rebel to death; by other accounts he’s not so sure. In any case, his stressful life is made more stressful by having to interview Jesus. Jerusalem
Once it was clear that Jesus’ death was inevitable, the disciples’ hopes were disrupted – in reality, their hopes were shattered. The men ran, and went into hiding.
Only the women stayed with Jesus. Their love, their plans were disrupted by grief as they watched his beaten, tortured body lose its fight. They watched as Jesus’ body was taken off the cross and placed into the tomb.
John’s gospel says Mary Magdalene went alone; other accounts say other women went with her. Whether they went to anoint Jesus’ body, or simply to be near Jesus’ body as they grieved, even their grieving was disrupted. Instead of a tomb with the stone firmly in place, the tomb was empty. “Where is he? What have you done with him?” the women demand.
Angels declare, “He is not here. He is risen, just as he said.” As Mary and then the other disciples wonder if Jesus really had been raised from death, Jesus disrupts their wondering by appearing in their midst, first to Mary and then to the rest of the group.
When we read further in the gospels, we discover that while the disciples would have liked nothing better than to have Jesus stick around and continue to teach them, Jesus disrupts those ideas. The disciples have work to do. He has taught them, he will give them the Holy Spirit, so they can continue his mission. Go and tell, go and share the good news. Heal, teach, disrupt other lives.
This disruption of lives continues to this day. If we pay attention, we will notice that Jesus is present with us all the time, disrupting our lives often in tiny ways and sometimes in major ways. Just when we think we have our futures figured out, Jesus disrupts our lives with a new plan. Just when we think we understand God, a new insight disrupts our thinking. Just when we think everyone we know goes to church, we meet someone who doesn’t know Jesus the way we know Jesus. And Jesus disrupts our shyness about sharing our faith, and puts his words in our mouths, and we discover we can tell others, “Jesus is risen, just as he said. And that has disrupted everything else that follows.”
Please pray with me: Risen Lord, come into our lives each day. Disrupt us, so we notice your presence. Disrupt us, so we know you more fully. Disrupt us, so we become more faithful followers. Disrupt us, so we are not afraid to go where you call us, give what you ask of us, and disrupt the lives of others with your love. Amen