How to Lose the Race and Still Be A Hero

Anyone who says that the Bible is boring, or lacks a good sense of humor, isn’t reading the same book that I am. I love how the authors of Scripture have taken pot shots at the world around them, those they think are doing religion poorly, or those on the outside looking in. The disciples, when they picked up pen and parchment, typically took aim at each other.

Take for instance John’s account of the resurrection:

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.

There are so many things to notice here. For starters, as he does throughout his entire gospel, John refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved.” I think there are some really beautiful reasons for John to choose this title for himself in his writing, but be honest, it comes off as a little show-offy, doesn’t it? But then there’s this remarkable story of a foot race to see the empty tomb between John and Peter. John spends more than a couple of lines making sure we understand that he got to the tomb first. The very fact that he feels so compelled to tell us so leads me to believe that either A) He won the race, but a bunch of people assumed it was Peter so he wanted to set the record straight, or B) he actually lost the race, but he writes the book, so he gets to be a hero anyway. I have a sibling myself, and I know a good old fashioned sibling rivalry when I see one.

Either choice as to why John is so hung up on this foot race is possible, but neither are really a great moment for John, are they? Here they are on the first Easter morning, literally standing at the doorway of resurrection, and they pick a silly fight. In the scheme of things, who really cares who wins races when there is new life bursting forth into this world?

But I totally understand where John is coming from. I think we all do. I think sometimes we can find ourselves standing at the doorway to resurrection, but we get caught up in that little dig someone said about us in the morning, or in what we read on Facebook, or what our face looked like in that weird mirror, or countless other distracting issues. At least for me, it’s extremely easier than I would like for it to be to find myself distracted by the foot race, and forget where I was racing towards.

So if you really want to be a hero, don’t worry about who wins the race. The best way to be a hero is to put your eyes on the empty tomb, and run. Get there. See new life bursting into this world all around us. We’ll sort the rest out later.

blog comments powered by Disqus