Victory Tour: Before the Ascension

Victory Tour: Before the Ascension

Jesus and His Victory Tour

After the Resurrection, it seems that Jesus could have hired a good PR agent. He didn’t exactly capitalize on His victory over death. Evidently, PR was the last thing on His mind. If I was Him, and I just dance out of the tomb, I would have made a bee-line to Pilate’s quarters and jeered, “You want to know what the truth is? You’re looking at him, baby! Does this answer your question?”

Or maybe I’d have marched right into the Sanhedrin, make a dramatic entrance for sure, and set the record straight on this messiah business. Actually, why not just float over to Rome, stroll into Caesar’s palace to talk a little smack and ask him, “Will the real Son of God please stand up?” Then I would have confidently walked into the inner Temple courts and carefully explained to the priests about that torn curtain thing. I might have gloated a bit about that.

On the other hand, I might have been tempted to zap a little payback, or at least offer some trash talk, to all those Roman guards who gleefully assaulted me and tortured me to death. Well, maybe I’m better than that.

I definitely would have immediately embarked on a world tour, complete with t-shirts, barnstorming my way to all the major population centers around the globe, a lecture tour complete with pointing to my nail holes, and revealing my true risen self. I would have become the Next Big Thing! Yup, that would produce lots of headlines, my name in lights, basking in all the glory.

But no, Jesus didn’t do any of that stuff, thank God. He was instead unassuming, self-effacing, and was divine humility on full display. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that He was still silent before His accusers? No world-wide Victory Tour. No defensive reactions to His tormentors. No hyperactive strutting. No vengeful payback.  He was purity supreme. He was Himself.

Instead, Jesus spent forty quiet days speaking about the Kingdom of God to His apostles and 500 of His ragtag band of believers and hangers-on. That’s right, He simply sought out His friends and local followers, encouraged them, taught Scripture, and even found the time to cook a little breakfast. The Lord was self-composed, calm and relatively private after He saved the world.

And who does He speak with first, after the stone was rolled away? None other than Mary Magdalene. “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons.” (Mark 16:9). She thought He was the gardener, which is perfect, isn’t it? For Jesus, I’m sure it brought back poignant memories of walking with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day, back in the Garden. There they are, near the empty garden tomb, and Jesus addressed her as “dear woman,” and then called her by name. Upon recognizing Him, she called Jesus “my dear Teacher.” The interaction between them was all tenderness and intimacy. Unforgettable.

So here is the victorious Lord of the Universe, who has literally been to hell and back, right after the final buzzer in the greatest comeback victory of all time. And He speaks first to a shamed woman, a marginalized outsider, once filled with demons. Grace personified makes her the ultimate insider. The last shall be first. Jesus’ first dance partner. Sweet.