Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
~Matthew 28:1-10 (Also reference Mark 16:1-11 & Luke 24:1-12)
Have you ever woken up unsure if the nightmare you were living was all just a bad dream or if it was actually the reality you had to get up and face?
Maybe you’ve found yourself staring at the ceiling… dreading the day ahead. Perhaps there was a fear you knew you had to face or a task you had to complete that seemed impossible… getting out of bed meant it was time to get started… and you just weren’t ready.
Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and have found yourself in a place where you felt you didn’t have the strength to even try to put two feet on the floor.
Most of us have woken up to a day like that in our lives and I have to imagine it was one of those days for the women we encounter in this passage of scripture.
These women have been through a lot. They all have a personal relationship with Jesus and I’m not just talking about the kind of relationship available to each one of us. They have lived on the earth with him… like lived… walked with him… talked with him… we know for sure that at least one of them was healed by him. They’ve been with Jesus through most of his ministry, they were present for his trial, witness to his death… and now it’s time for them to wake up and anoint one of their closest and dearest friends in his tomb. It must have felt like a bad dream. They must have felt defeated and filled with dread at the task ahead. I can close my eyes and see them on their walk to the tomb… probably at a slower pace than usual… maybe even with tears in their eyes… a sense of hopelessness in the air.
We all know what happens next though. Their emotions quickly change to confusion and fear. An earthquake? An angel? Jesus isn’t in the tomb? Another passage of scripture tells us that they wanted to know where his body was. Who took it? Where did they put it? They had no clue what was really going on, but the angel explains and then reminds them of what Jesus told them. “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen.” Wait… what? Jesus did say that was going to happen didn’t he? Is it true?
We know that it was true and it is still true and it is the good news that should bring us the same kind of “great joy” that it brought these women all those years ago.
The truth is… prior to this moment in history, there may have been grounds for hopelessness to fester in our hearts and minds. If Jesus had not risen from the grave, well, then, I’d say we’d all have an excuse to not get of bed when things don’t go the way we expect them to… BUT HE DIED FOR US, HE ROSE AGAIN AND HE IS ALIVE!
No matter what you are facing, hope is alive. Yes, this world is broken. Yes, there will be bad days. Yes, sometimes life just seems SO unfair, but Jesus is alive and if there is nothing else for us to have joy about, we can hold fast to that because He has overcome the world. In fact, that’s what Jesus told his disciples just before he was crucified in John 16 verse 33, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” It doesn’t end there either…
Not only do we have an eternal future to look forward to with Him, but we can also trust and remember in his many promises while we are still here in this world. When you are feeling less than excited to press on through life, turn to him and remember those promises. He has a plan for us and he promises to give us strength when we are weak, rest when we are weary, to meet all of our needs, to never leave us and, my personal favorite, to give us peace amongst the chaos of life. (2 Peter 1:4, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 11:29-29, Isaiah 40: 29-31, Philippians 4:19, Romans 8:37-39, Proverbs 1:33, John 14: 27, Romans 10:9, Romans 6:23)
The eternal life part is like icing on the cake.
Start this day with a heart full of thanksgiving for all Jesus has done for you. He died for you. He rose again. He conquered the grave and that same power lives in you!
Exhale your worries, fears and your feelings of defeat… Inhale his amazing LOVE for you…
Lord, in this world we do face troubles of so many different kinds. Worries… fears… sadness… uncertainties… Help me remember that you are a constant in my life… that I can count on you to never leave me. I pray I find my strength in you even on my worst days and I pray I will always remember the amazing sacrifice you made for me. I pray that no matter what I am facing, I will keep you (and all you’ve done for me) in the forefront of my thoughts. Amen
Today’s post was written by Amanda Sanders.
Amanda has been married to her high school sweet heart Matt for 11 years. Together they have three kids ages 8, 7 and 3. In this season of life, Amanda spends most of her time drinking coffee, teaching children, doing laundry and repeating herself. Occasionally, she has some time for working out, reading for leisure and writing. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life UCF campus.
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