Where is Jesus?

“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you. So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:5-8)

Happy Easter, Fighter,

Easter Day is when it all began. Easter was the beginning of faith – the beginning of hope.

If there had been no resurrection, we would probably know nothing of Jesus. His death would have been seen as just another example of Roman brutality, and His wisdom would have likely died with Him. Nothing would have changed. As Saint Paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins!” (1 Corinthians 15:17).

The resurrection of Jesus reshapes human history. It’s a new beginning for us and for God. If Jesus was brutalised and killed and yet came back, anything is possible, including the promise of the new tomorrow that Jesus spoke about. It all starts with the resurrection, which is what makes it so remarkable that our Gospel accounts tell us basically nothing about this pivotal event!

Our reading today is from the Gospel of Mark, which is generally believed to have been the first Gospel written. The key details of Easter morning are outlined in these verses. The women come to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus but instead they find that the tomb has been blown to pieces and Jesus is alive and well! He hugs them all and they talk and …

No. That’s not what happens.

The women come to the tomb and they find nothing – no dead body, no risen Jesus, no guards! The only thing they find is a young stranger who apparently knows what is going on. He tells them that Jesus has already moved on, and that they will see Him later! THE END.

This is indeed where our earliest version of Mark’s Gospel ends, with nothing resolved. If we were having trouble making sense of Jesus up to this point, nothing has become any clearer. Indeed, the story quite clearly ends on a note of confusion: “they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid” (Mark16:8)

It’s such a bizarre way to end the story of Jesus. To those who think the Gospel narratives are fictitious, I say, “if this were fiction, wouldn’t the authors have come up with a better ending?”

Mark’s story is introduced as “The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah” (Mark 1:1) but it doesn’t look like good news at the end. No one is celebrating. Everyone is running around scared. They can’t find Jesus and they’re too terrified to tell anyone about it. My guess is that the best way to understand this is to take seriously Mark’s opening words – that this is indeed just ‘the beginning’ of the good news about Jesus the Messiah. This story isn’t finished.

Interestingly, while the women in the story have no idea where Jesus is, they are told that Jesus is moving ahead of them and will meet them in Galilee. This, in itself, is a bizarre detail. Why Galilee? Why not Jerusalem, which was a far more spiritually significant city, or even Rome? ‘Galilee of the gentiles’ (Matthew 4:15) was a place held in contempt by most Jews. In John 7:52 the question, “Are you too from Galilee?”, is used as an insult.

Galilee was cosmopolitan and corrupt.  We all know areas like this. They are the slum areas. They have high unemployment rates and high crime rates. When I started as a parish priest in Dulwich Hill in 1990, it was a Galilee of sorts. Those who could afford to, had moved out. The streets were not safe at night.

“He is going ahead of you to Galilee”, the man in white tells the women, and “there you will see him”, and then he adds, “just as he told you.” (Mark 16:7).

As far as I know, there was no explicit word from Jesus prior to the resurrection that Galilee would be the place where He would meet them. Even so, the man in white suggests that the women should have anticipated where Jesus was going. Jesus had told them that they would find Him there, though perhaps not in as many words.

Jesus continues to move ahead of us, and we should anticipate that the places He is going to are the places we would rather avoid. Are we ready to meet Jesus in Galilee? Are we ready to embed ourselves in places that respectable people avoid? If we want to stop running around in fear and confusion, we need to head there now. Jesus is waiting for us.

Our Sunday Eucharist

We had a fantastic Sunday Eucharist last weekend. Andrew Logan and Doug Pyeatt were a terrific combination, and it was great to have Father John Ashfield join us again (from somewhere in Europe), sharing his wisdom on how we can take on ‘the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:1-11).

I’m afraid I was thrown off balance in our initial chat when I heard that Andrew’s partner, Gigi, was in Saudi Arabia. Listening to the recording again, I fear I come across as a raving Antisaudite (if that’s a word). I like to think I’m not prejudiced against anyone, but I confess that Saudi Arabia is at the bottom of the list of countries I would like to visit (absolute bottom). Anyway … my apologies to any Saudi brothers and sisters who hear this rant. Be assured that my issue is with the government and not the people.

This weekend we celebrate Easter. I’m back at Binacrombi and I’ll be joined on the panel by our good friends, Andrew Madry and Rob Gilland. Joy has also put together a pre-recorded reflection on the Gospel reading that I’m sure you will enjoy.

So please join us from midday if you can at TheSundayEucharist.com, or on Facebook, YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn or Streamyard. I do look forward to sharing this Eucharist with you. 😊

Let me work your corner

If you’d like to see my work continue, please click here to make a one-off donation, If you can afford a monthly contribution, sign up at Patreon.comand choose either:

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Every dollar helps keep the wheels turning – the websites, the newsletters, the broadcasts, the boxing club and the bush camp. Even so, I really don’t want this to be a one-way process. I want to support you in return, so please fill out the Physical and Spiritual Fitness Assessment form and get it back to me, and then sign up at Patreon.com

What’s On?

  • March 29th to April 1st @Binacrombi. Please join me.
  • Sunday, March 31st – Our Easter Eucharist from midday via thesundayeucharist.com (and through Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn  and Streamyard).
  • Tuesday, April 2nd – Boxing at The Mundine Gym in Redfern from 6.30 pm.
  • Wednesday, April 3rd – “Palestine and Global Peace” – a webinar featuring Dr Stephen Sizer, Dr Chandra Muzzafar, Bishop Riah Abu Al-Assal and me. Register here.
  • Thursday, April 4th – Boxing at The Mundine Gym in Redfern from 6.30 pm.
  • Saturday, April 6th – Boxing @Legends Gym in Kensington from 2pm

I am excited about our upcoming Webinar on “Palestine and Global Peace”. I believe this is the most critical issue we are facing, and I’m proud to be able to introduce you to some of my most knowledgeable people I know on this subject:

  • Dr Chandra Muzaffar is a Malaysian scholar who has devoted his life to the work of reconciliation and peace. I first met him in the mid 1980’s, not long after he had been arrested by the government. Years later, Dr Muzaffar would work alongside the man who’d had him arrested, working to bring reconciliation between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Chandra is a truly remarkable man.
  • Bishop Riah Abu Al-Assal is the former Archbishop of Jerusalem – a diocese that includes Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon! He is a Palestinian. I well remember Riah’s visit to Sydney in 2006 when I had the privilege of hosting a dinner for him. It was also Riah though who showed hospitality to me in Jerusalem when my friend, Mordechai Vanunu was released from prison in April, 2004. Riah gave Morde sanctuary in his Cathedral – so saving his life – and he allowed me to stay in his room in the Cathedral, alongside my friend.
  • Dr Stephen Sizer will be well known to many of you from his monthly appearances on our Sunday Eucharist. Stephen is a great Bible scholar, but he’s best known for his Palestinian advocacy work and for his books and videos aimed at countering Christian Zionism. Stephen is probably the world’s leading authority on this subject.

Between these three great souls I expect we will all learn a lot next Wednesday. Hopefully, this webinar will leave us better equipped to pray and to act effectively, to help end the genocide in Gaza. So, we pray.

Please share this event with your friends and contacts through emails, social media, word of mouth, or in whatever way works best for you. I’m adding some more promotional graphics in the margin here and at the bottom that you can use in emails and social media posts.

Tell your friends to register for the event at www.israelandpalestine.org/webinar. That will link them directly to the Streamyard page, though the webinar will be simultaneously broadcast through Facebook , YouTubeTwitter and LinkedIn.

I pray you have a blessed and joyful break over Easter. When you are kicking back on one of the upcoming holydays, do consider using the time to explore the Fighting Fathers Web Network and see what resources there will be most useful to you:

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called.

Yours in the Good Fight,



P.S. It’s never too late to pick up some of dear Imogen’s, artwork at Fightshop.biz

Fighting Fathers Redbubble Shop

P.P.P.S. If you’re wondering who is in the photo up the top with Joy and myself, that’s Joy’s goddaughter, Charlie, her husband, Liam, and their young son, Elijah.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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