Luke 24:1-12 (ESV)
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared.  And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb,  but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel.  And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,  that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise."  And they remembered his words,  and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.  Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,  but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.  But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.
Idle tale. It seemed to them an idle tale. You can see how idle of a tale it was. It moved Peter. You can almost see the disciple waking up in the morning to the women going on and on about the empty tomb and angels etc. You can see the disciples dismissing it. And then you can see Peter sitting there and thinking. “wait a minute, could it be? I think I remember Jesus saying something about this. Maybe it was when he called me Satan for having in mind the things of man and not the things of God.” You can see it as e runs to the tomb and the tale becomes anything but idle as it takes on life in the resurrection of Christ.
I mean I sometimes wonder how idle a tale it would have been if it wasn’t for this resurrection. It would have been quite idle, probably dead. Sometoday would like to disclaim it as idle, but they are confronted by the fact that the tomb is empty, and the tale is alive! If the resurrection hadn’t happened then the tale no doubt would have died. Because only in the resurrection does Christ’s life make any sense. Only in the resurrection and the life given to all through Christ does the story take on life. There is no Christianity without the death and resurrection of Christ. None.
People today want to discount the death and resurrection, or atleast the resurrection, and hold on to the morals. Christianity isn’t found though in the morals. They want to say that Christ was a great teacher, and that is true, but only if Jesus rose from the dead, without that all you have is a lunatic who claimed to be God and died. You know how many at that time claimed to be the messiah and died? Many on a cross. It is quite incomprehensible. One after the other, almost like the Mahdi in the sudan of the 19th century these charismatic fellows rose up claiming to be the messiah and they died, and are hardly remembered anymore but for a couple brief footnotes in history. But Jesus rose from the dead. His story lives on because he lives. His is no idle tale. But it would have been had he not risen from the dead.
Without the resurrection we have a dead would be messiah and nothing else. The Bible would be nothing but law, and obscure history that had nothing to do with us, though there might then be some who would still try to use the old testament to predict the end of time based on the fact that a Palestinian through a rock and hit a Jew in the head. Those myths were around even before Christ. Infact they were the reason most of the Jews missed Jesus as being the Christ. He didn’t fit into the myth of who the messiah would be, and earthly ruler etc.
There would be no good news if Jesus hadn’t risen from the dead. And we would hardly consider his teaching good. No, not us. Not us rich people living in big homes with two or three cars. Believe me we are rich, and that bit about the impossibility of a rich man entering the kingdom of heaven would not be considered good. No not at all. We would do all we could to discount Christ. But then that was followed with something about all things being possible for God. And today we learn what that meant. Impossible for us, but possible for God. Today he shows us that everything is possible with God when Jesus rose from the dead, and gives us life. Life with him. Life eternal. And now his life has meaning even for us, Now his life is no Idle tale, but one that takes on a life of it’s own even as it gives life to those of us who hear it and believe. His story has life because he lives.
He is Risen!
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen