Fr. Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is the Proistamenos of St. John Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, FL. Fr. contributes the Prayer Team Ministry, a daily reflection, which began in February 2015, has produced two books, “Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections on Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany”: “https://amzn.to/2t1rXwh and “The Road Back to Christ: Reflections on Lent, Holy Week and the Resurrection.” https://amzn.to/2WAcfG0
We will now be including the daily reading of Epistle and Gospel with The Prayer Team.
The Resurrection of Christ
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. 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? 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 this 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 this 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 wondering at what had happened. Luke 24: 1-12 (Fourth Eothinon Gospel)
Good morning Prayer Team!
Christ is Risen!
The Fourth Eothinon Gospel brings us Luke’s account of the Resurrection. The “they” in the first verse refers to “the women” from Luke chapter 23 who ministered to Jesus at the cross and after He died. Unlike Matthew’s and Mark’s accounts, their number is not stated. In this account, the women find the stone rolled away, enter the tomb and find it empty, and then are greeted by two men (not one as in Mark’s Gospel). The encounter with the young men/angels takes place after they have viewed the empty tomb.
Continuing in the passage, Luke qualifies that the women present include Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women. As in Mark’s Gospel, it is the women who share the news with the disciples and it is the disciples who dismiss the news as an idle tale, disbelieving what had happened.
Peter, to his credit, ran to the tomb to see for himself what had happened. He took the time to investigate. He, too, did not know what to make of what he had seen. As we know, Peter, despite his uncertainty, “stayed with the program” and became the leader of the early Christian church.
These accounts of the Resurrection, while slightly different, confirm truth, because of their slight differences. Police officers and detectives, when they investigate a crime, separate suspects. If the suspect accounts of what happened are identical, they know that they are concocted. If they are totally different, they know that someone is being untruthful. If they are similar, though not the same, they find them to be more truthful. The accounts of the Resurrection all confirm that women went to the tomb early in the morning and found it empty. They all reveal that an angel or young man (or two young men) were present at the tomb. And they all reveal a level of skepticism among the disciples.
In addition to giving to us the historical account of the Resurrection, they tell us our own story. How do we react to the good news of the Resurrection of Christ? Do we meet it with skepticism? With doubt? Do we run like Peter to confirm the message for ourselves? Are we still sitting at home, wondering what happened?
Peter’s reaction, metaphorically speaking, is something we should all do. We should all “run to the tomb”, meaning run to church, run to the Bible, run to prayer. We should discover the beauty of each, and we should go home and wonder what happened, in the sense of contemplating, reflecting and learning the message.
Peter didn’t just sit home wondering at what had happened, however. He put his faith in the Resurrection, and went out and became a leader in the church. We are called to do the same. But we can’t lead with conviction if we haven’t first learned what it is we believe.
Peter didn’t believe the women, he ran to the tomb to see for himself. Don’t take my word for the faith. Investigate the faith for yourself. Reflect on what happened two thousand years ago. And then make a decision that this message will be a focal point for your life, as Peter made it for his.
It was early dawn when the women came to Your tomb, O Christ, but the body they desired was not found. Therefore, those in resplendent vesture standing by said to them: Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is risen as He foretold. Why do you not remember His words? Convinced by them, the women proclaimed what they had seen, but their good tidings seemed to be idle tales, so dulled were the disciples still. But Peter ran, and beheld and glorified within himself Your wonders. (Fourth Eothinon Doxastikon, Trans. by Holy Cross Seminary Press, 1991)
Read and reflect on a Bible passage today!
These readings are under copyright and is used by permission. All rights reserved. These works may not be further reproduced, in print or on other websites or in any other form, without the prior written authorization of the copyright holder: Reading © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA, Apolytikion of Abbot Marcellus © Narthex Press, Kontakion of Abbot Marcellus © Holy Transfiguration Monastery – Brookline, MA.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyrighted 1946, 1952, 1971, and 1973 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and used by permission. From the Online Chapel of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
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