questioning Jesus, ‘rest’

21 Sep
Andrea Solario (c.1524) Mary Magdalen

Today, 21 September I wish to move deeply into Mark’s gospel by seeing Jesus’ burial from Luke’s narrative. There is a beauty to reading gospel events from different narratives. Questions should be, are raised, yet as one mediates on these queries, answered arise from times with the word. Reading the the word is calling on God, our Lord, to speak, to respond, to answer our spoken and unspoken questions.

So, if an image, a word, a moment in the gospel narrative strikes me, I question it by reading another view of the same event. In this moment I am reading Luke’s description of Jesus’ agony and burial. And I see my Lord telling me, ‘rest.’ Rest.

Luke 22 ‘An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.44 And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.’ 45 When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. 46 “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”

The disciples are not named here except by their emotion: exhausting sorrow. They sleep to no longer feel. Jesus cannot sleep. His sorrow is so richly felt that his sweat is stood of blood. Exhaustion is jest beginning; more of his blood will spill, flow,

Luke 23 55 ‘ The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. 56 Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.’

When I see ‘but’ at the beginning of a sentence, I sit up. A change, a reversal, a new, completing idea is arriving:

the disciples slept due to physical and emotional exhaustion, but the women who saw Jesus’ tortured body rested. How could they rest after seeing his flayed being?

They rested in obedience to the commandment, in obedience to the word .

Rested because they choose to live by the, but, the new way: Thy way is rest; and it will be done.

Luke 10: 42 defines this way to Martha who was anxious and busy in preparing her home while her sister Mary sits at Jesus’

….” but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

The good portion is sitting with the word at Jesus’ feet. This is the ‘but.’ This is what the women have done, they have rested in the shadows of Jesus’ crucifixion death. After preparing his oils, they rest.

Obedient, they sleep.

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