He Is Not Here.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.”
In all of human history, in all the great men and women who have said and done great things, not a single one of them has ever said anything more significant than this announcement, recorded in the Gospel of Luke.
All of human history turns on this one declaration: that Jesus of Nazareth, having been thoroughly killed by crucifixion, was no longer to be found in the tomb where he had been laid. Just as he said, he was risen from death. In that resurrection, the very power of sin and death was reversed. Created order had been restored. The way to eternal life had been secured.
I think about this phrase, a question and a statement, the most powerful words in all of Scripture, and I think about the way it cuts to the quick through all of our own searching for meaning.
“Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
What is it that we seek today to give us life? Is it a cause to believe in? Is it an identity that we wish to forge? Is it a flag or a candidate or a political party? Is it our race or our ethnicity? What do you seek out of life?
Whatever it is we seek, and wherever we seek it, it is a fool’s errand to believe that any life will be found if it is not Christ who we seek first, in order to place him at the center of our lives. There is no life to be found anywhere else, because no other promise of purpose, identity, belonging, pride, hope, or anything else will sustain us into eternity. What we seek in this life matters, and if we spend our lives seeking the wrong things, in the end, we will have found nothing but dead things.
Why, oh why, do we seek the living among the dead?
However, if we seek Jesus first, we will get everything else we seek along with him. Do you want justice? Seek Christ. Do you want to know who you really are? Seek Christ. Do you want a purpose in life? Seek Christ. Do you want hope for the future, to be the right kind of man or woman, the right kind of father or mother, or husband or wife, or son or daughter? Do you want to know what it means to be a good friend to the marginalized, or to know how to truly care for the afflicted? Do you want to know what it means to be truly, fully, beautifully human? Seek Christ.
But here’s a hint: You won’t find Christ hanging out with dead things. You’ll not find him in all the places clamoring for you to give your life for them. You’ll find him walking out of an empty tomb having risen from death because he gave his life for you.
Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen. And he is ready to make himself known to you.