“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
This question is the heart of the Gospel. It is what drives our faith, points us in the right direction, and gives us hope in a dark world.
Yet we don’t seem to grasp the true fullness of the ancient question, “why do you seek the living among the dead?”.
The question occurs in Luke 24, which begins on a down note. At the end of chapter 23, Jesus was dead. Which meant that hope was dead.
A group of women had come to his tomb to anoint the body for a proper burial. Their friend had died an undeserved, agonizing death, and had not even been buried properly.
They were now seeking to give a dead man that one last honor.
They were not seeking a miracle. They were not seeking a fulfillment of prophecy. They were not seeking to hear from angels, or to be the first on earth to proclaim the Gospel of a risen Savior.
They were merely walking among dead people seeking a dead man.
As things turned out, they never anointed the body as there was no body to anoint. Just as angels appeared to proclaim his birth, an angel now appeared to proclaim his resurrection.
Yet this proclamation came in the form of a question, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”. Jesus was alive, and all of Heaven already knew what Earth did not.
While we wept, Heaven rejoiced.
While we were seeking solutions among dead things, life was already at work among us.
Yet we still make the same, horrible mistake. Instead of seeking the living, instead of trusting and following the risen Savior and the abundant life He alone can deliver, we seek truth and life and hope among what is dead and decaying.
Instead of remaining grounded in the truth of Scripture, instead of focusing our hearts and minds and efforts on that which has proven time and time again to be trustworthy, we dabble in the dead and decaying failures of humanity. We dabble in socialism. We dabble in pseudo-science. We dabble in Newspeak. We dabble in biased media. We dabble in anger, hate, confusion, rewiring our brains to the point of overload, weariness and despair when all we had to do was turn to the living truth of the living God and find the peace we so desperately crave.
The angelic words proclaimed: “He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”
Then they remembered his words” (Luke 24:6-8).
Like them, we forget his words and have to be reminded. Again and again and again.
We trust in those who say “peace peace” when there is no peace. We trust in luck, we trust in governments and ideas and flawed logic when the truth of God is staring us squarely in the face telling us we are in the wrong spot, seeking the wrong things for all the wrong reasons.
We wander around tombs of failed, dead human wisdom when the Son of God is alive and working in our midst.
To this day, no one can say with complete certainty where the tomb of Jesus was. No one can point to a spot with unwavering certainty and say ‘this is undoubtedly where it happened’. No one really, truly, definitely knows.
There is a reason for this – Jesus wasn’t there for very long. After the women came away from the tomb rejoicing, celebrating, bringing the greatest news that has ever been brought to anyone anywhere, it simply didn’t matter.
Death has been defeated, and Jesus is forever alive. As we seek the answers to our problems, we are certain to find them – not in the tombs of failed humanity, but when we seek that which is living and gives us life.