empty cocoon | John 20.3-7
So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. John 20.3-7 | ESV
They lit out – Peter and that other disciple did, heading towards the tomb. They were running together, the two of them – but that other disciple outran Peter, reaching the tomb first. But he just peered inside, taking note of the grave clothes lying there, quite empty, but he would go no further. Then comes Simon “the Rock” hot in his tracks, rolling right past him into the tomb. He saw the grave clothes lying there quite empty as well, studying them carefully – along with the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head, the facial cloth in its place, the strips of burial cloth in their place, all wrapped up in place like an empty cocoon. MAV
It’s quite the task, reconciling these resurrection eyewitness accounts. Who all came to the tomb, what they saw, what they did. For some that is an evidence of falsity, for others of veracity. I’ll leave it for you to chase that rabbit through the apologetic texts of your choice, if you wish. I would just observe that births tend to be confusing, disorienting, messy scenes experienced from multiple perspectives. Yet one fact remains: a child was born; a tomb was empty. And this is perhaps most important for us to see in this resurrection story: the resurrection itself is unobserved.
No one sees Jesus exit the tomb.
There’s no moment by moment recounting of his body being regenerated, of him slowly sitting up – or was it a leap? – and then of his dramatic departure – what, through the stone? The resurrection itself is not seen or chronicled. It happened behind the concealing stone, out of their view, out of our view.
All we have here are a group of confused and muddled human beings suddenly confronted with the absence of death and soon with the very real presence of Life – and then the race is on to sort it all out.
Welcome to church.
The catalyst of resurrection works like yeast out of sight in us too, behind that seemingly unmovable slab of reality. And then suddenly that reality rolls, leaving exposed the empty cocoon of our old existence, leaving us like Peter and John wide-eyed and jaw-dropped as we try to come to grips with the wondrous, messy, unexpected reality of Life.
Yes, welcome to church.
Do you see your old life as an empty cocoon of burial clothes lying in the tomb, or are you still waiting for new life to emerge? Is there anything we can do to help this resurrection to happen? If so, what?
Lord, wake me up to the reality of resurrection right before me this day. Unleash resurrection in and through me. Through Christ.