Cognitive dissonance is the influx of intellectual disequilibrium. In other words, when your tidy framework of reality is suddenly unsettled by unexpected facts, your “mind is blown.” And suddenly, you see the world very differently.
Resurrection morning created massive cognitive dissonance for the followers of Jesus. They never saw it coming! Not only did they not see it coming, but at first, they couldn’t believe their eyes.
Curiosity is key when cognitive dissonance occurs. John highlights three curious moments from resurrection morning; he wants us to meditate on them so that we might understand the significance of our resurrected Jesus.
- The Conscientious Guest: Jesus thoughtfully tidied up after Himself on resurrection morning. Remember, this is a borrowed tomb. When it was time for Jesus to be resurrected, he tidies up the place as He leaves. How thoughtful is that!? John realizes that Jesus is conscientious.
- The Mistaken Gardener: Mary is the first one to visit the tomb on Easter Sunday. What we often forget is that Mary had a life of trauma, of severe demonic possession. Jesus was her lifeline to freedom, healing, and safety. So, when He died, her world was shattered. When she arrives at the empty tomb, her trauma is triggered all over again, because the body of Jesus is gone. And as her panic and anxiety take hold, Jesus comes to meet her, but she doesn’t recognize Him at first. Jesus called her name, and everything changed. When Jesus called her by name, the fear began to ebb, the anxiety calmed, the sadness was undone. And the man she thought was the gardener turned out to be her rescuer, healer, teacher, and Lord all along.
- The Ascending Lord: When Mary realizes that Jesus is alive in the flesh, she is overjoyed and wants to grab hold of Him forever. But Jesus tells her not to cling to Him. Why? Because Jesus is in the middle of cosmic redemption. The resurrection isn’t the end, but the beginning of a new creation. There’s still work to be done! Jesus must ascend to the Father where He will rule until His enemies have been made His footstool. When He shall return again, in that day justice will reign, peace will abide, and glory will cover the earth. It will be a New Heaven and a New Earth, and in the Garden City of God, heaven will come down to earth. So, when Mary mistook Jesus as the gardener, she wasn’t entirely wrong. Jesus is the Gardener, the caretaker of the New Creation. Just as Adam was the Gardener and Caretaker of the old creation, now Jesus is the Gardener and Caretaker of the New Creation.
- Jesus is making all things new. The resurrection isn’t just a nice thing that happened a long time ago; its’ the pattern and promise of what will one day happen to all things. Jesus is in the business of bring redemption to the cosmos, of making all things new.
- Jesus is tidying up the universe. Everything that is sin-cursed will one day be tidied up in redemption and put in its proper place forever. And Jesus wants to begin that redemptive work in your life today.
- Jesus is calling your name. When Jesus calls your name, everything changes. Is this resurrection life yours?