“God raised this Jesus; of this we are all witnesses.” – Acts 2:14, 22-23
The resurrection of Jesus has been one of the most difficult things for me to relate to in my walk of faith. The crucifixion has always been something more tangible for me. In the crucifixion, the raw humanity of it all is on full display. And not only is it on display in the gospel, but it is something I can see take place all around the world today. All around the world people are suffering and dying because they are standing up for something or someone. This I can touch, taste, hear, see and smell. Crucifixion is very real. But the resurrection? Not so much.
One response I often have is to turn the resurrection of Jesus into an allegory. I tend to focus more on how the resurrection story reveals a deeper message about how we must die to things we are attached to in order to live. And I am convinced that there is truth to that. I firmly believe that the resurrection of Jesus is an allegory. But the real question for me really becomes: what if it is something more?
If you have doubts about the tangible reality of the resurrection like I do, perhaps you are keeping God in a neat little box you have created. I do this all the time, especially with the resurrection. I keep Jesus in the box of how I have come to see this thing we call a “body.” I keep thinking that our bodies are something we own, something we have control of. And sadly, that can even spill over beyond my own body to someone else I’ve objectified.
We are presented with a scene in Matthew’s gospel today where the chief priests are worried that they have lost control of Jesus’ body. They even create a lie that the disciples stole the body just to maintain the illusion of control. This is probably a natural reaction for anyone in that position. We have developed a certain understanding of the body.
But what would happen if each of us opened our bodies to new possibilities? What if instead of holding onto my body, I let it go? What if I truly offer my body as pure gift? Is it not possible that our bodies can transcend the three-dimensional world we think we are limited to? This, I now believe, is what happened to our Lord. All because he offered his entire self, his entire body. Lord, show us what this was like!