Reflection on John 20.19-23
At the end of a weekend conference, a student came up to me and declared, “I must not be very Asian.”
The first words that came to my mind was: Is she crazy? She was clearly Korean-American, not only in looks but also in custom and culture. But the words that came out of my mouth were more pastoral: I asked her why.
She said, “Well, I don’t suffer from a lack of self-esteem and I don’t have issues with my parents. So I must not be very Asian.”
It’s too easy for Asian Americans to define ourselves by our weaknesses. In our cultures, it’s easy to be tough on ourselves. It’s instinctive to counter an offer of praise with a retort of self-criticism. It’s natural to focus on the one bad grade on a stellar report card. And this very inclination may cause us to emphasize Good Friday at the expense of Easter Sunday.
Good Friday can almost feel cathartic, right? I can come to the cross with my faults and sins. I can ask for forgiveness. And it has been taken care of on the cross. It’s all about my weaknesses. And rightfully so. But Easter? Often, the resurrection is just proof that Good Friday worked. Since Jesus rose again, then our sins are truly forgiven.
But Easter is also so much more. It’s an invitation to life! The Scriptures say we died with him, for “we have been crucified with Christ.” With his resurrection, “we also live with him.” We actually live with Christ, and Christ lives in us. We participate in both Christ’s death and resurrection. And so, we don’t merely look back at what Christ has done for us, though we’re deeply thankful. On Easter, we also look forward to the new life God is springing up in us.
Because he lives, we too can truly live.