Yes, this would be your typical Easter text, and yes, I may be just a few weeks late on this one, but it wasn’t until today that I was able to really flesh this out in my mind.
On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the grave of Jesus expecting to mourn, to cry out, to try to put the pieces back together of a life that was cut short in its prime, really, but instead she witnessed something that would scare the robe off anybody: angels, an empty tomb and some discarded grave clothes.
In John 20:13, the angels ask, “Woman, why are you crying?”
And in Matt. 28: 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
Luke puts it this way: the angels asked, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”
Why are we searching for the living among the dead? This isn’t a treatise on why we need to give up hope, but it is a challenge. God gave Mary Magdalene specific instructions, specific important instructions. If we keep our eyes to the ground, or worse yet, on what once was, we will miss the gift in front of us: this gift of a Savior, of a miracle worker, of new, regenerated life. This was the woman from whom Jesus cast out seven demons. God had already done a huge work in her life.
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. The Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me. (Matt. 28:8-9)
Funny thing is, the text clearly states that the women were afraid, but at the same time they were FILLED with joy. What does that mean for us?
1) We have to step out and do the things that cause us fear, chances are, if Jesus had not gone ahead of the women, the disciples would have just seen it as crazytalk.
2) Come, see what God has done, be my witnesses–tell others about how amazing Jesus is and how he keeps his promises
3) Go, tell what you have seen and Jesus will be there
This speaks to me because I am going back to Uganda in 42 days. I am going to be a storyteller for the things that I see. I already know that God is going to do amazing things while we are there this summer, but still, the trip is a little daunting, the fundraising, getting to know new people, the variables we are certain to encounter while there…but Jesus has already gone before us, in fact, he is waiting for us there. He is in the little hands that will be reaching out to take ours, he’s in the teachers that work so hard at the primary school, he’s in the hearts of the big kids there who have seen and experienced more hardship than most of us can comprehend. He’s there in the hearts of the few men who have stayed behind to disciple a generation of young men who will grow up to be fathers and providers and leaders in their own families.
So wipe those tears, go, tell, be His witnesses, his storytellers for what He has and what he will do. Beyond any doubt, He will meet you there.