This entire passage has just blown me away - so forgive me for the length (heehee - NOT!) Again, it’s one of those I have read before, but this morning...on sweet Valentine's day, His words were leaping off the page and slapping me in the face (gently and challenging :-), as if I see them for the very first time! I LOVE YOU LORD!!
Let’s start with some of the best words spoken in the Bible, Matthew 28:5-6
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.”
He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead,...
BLESS THE LORD OH MY SOUL!!
How often do I seek Jesus where He isn’t, and then wander why I don't sense Him near?! A popular phrase I hear from time to time when people ask for prayer or talk about the problems in their lives is, “Take it to the cross.” Now I'm wandering - for what?! Why would I take it to the cross when the One I need help from is no longer there? He isn’t on the Cross. He isn’t in the tomb. He is risen from the dead and now sits at the right hand of the Father (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3).
Perhaps it is the Throne of Grace I need to make my way to...
The angel seems to have a sense of urgency. He says at the end of v. 6, “Come, see where his body was lying.” Then I wander if he even took a breath before he tells them in v. 7, “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.”
There is a lot going on right now. I am about to faint at just the thought of being in that moment and experiencing what these two women were feeling...
He isn’t here!
Hurry... and tell them He has risen from the dead. He is going to Galilee.
You will see Him there.
I can’t even imagine taking it all in while, at the same time, being overwhelmed that the One I love and saw crucified is not lying on the slab where He was buried. That is probably why the angel says after all those instructions, “Remember what I have told you.”
And here is another favorite part of mine in this passage, “And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them.”
These two precious women were afraid, filled with joy (v. 8) and I’m thinking in shock, but notice they didn’t hang around the tomb. They didn’t turn to the angel and start asking all kinds of questions and demanding explanations...they ran quickly (v. 8) to tell the others; and it was on the way, in their obedience of going, that Jesus met them and greeted them.
Ever wander why you haven’t heard the voice of Jesus in awhile, or felt His presence? Could it be because He is waiting for you down the way? I am thankful He is always with us, every step of the way... but what I am learning, is not to expect to continue hearing His voice and feel Him real close when I haven’t done the last thing He asked me to do. When I haven't moved from where I am, to go where He has told me to go. It is as I go that I run into Him along the way.
And what do these two sisters do when they see Him? The only thing they could do, “they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him” (v. 9). Then, just in case they forgot what they were supposed to do, Jesus reminds them again, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” (v. 10)
One of the things I used to struggle with and long for is to have better retention. It is something I wrestle with since the grief and depression. I have no personal medical proof that is the cause, but I know, without a doubt, when a person’s mind goes through intense distress, for long periods of time, there is a physical and chemical change to the mind and body. There is so much I hear or read and I’m scared to death I won’t remember. Even at work, in an environment where things change everyday, I exhaust myself trying to keep up with all the information I need to be truly effective. I desperately want to hang on to and remember things the way I used to. I would have been mortified if I were at the tomb; I would have fought, in my own strength of course, to hold onto everything the angel said. High emotions and remembering at the same time are much harder for me now, but I have finally learned, and been able to rest in the fact that whatever God whispers to my heart, whatever the Originator of all thoughts and revelations shows me or tells me, He holds it with Him and when He wants me to recall something, He will tell me again, as I go.
But then there is the other side, as I go. “As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened.” (v. 11)
This also stopped me dead in my tracks as reality sunk in that as I go, not only will I meet Jesus, but there will also be great opposition going on behind the scenes to stop me. The depth of the intimate relationship with Christ, will determine whether or not I make it to my destination - through the opposition. Jesus will carry me through whoever or whatever is against me. Oh Praise His Holy Name! There is a great work up ahead and I must be strengthened to, "Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit" (v. 19).
Lord help me change my perspective and see that opposition is put in my path, not to take me down, although that is the enemy’s plan, but it is put there to drive me closer to God - that is Jehovah’s plan! HALLELUJAH!!
Guess what happened when "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary" made it to the eleven disciples and told them what the angel and Jesus said? The disciples “...left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.” The disciples went; they obeyed. I’m sure they were devastated over the death of Jesus, still working through all the emotions and unbearable grief - but they went. And guess what happened, they saw Him!
A little out of order here for a second, but v. 17b says, “some of the disciples doubted.” I don’t know how you doubt what is in front of you. Right now I'm sitting in my room, in a glider with the light on - I guess I could doubt the room, the glider and the lights weren’t there, but that seems kind of silly at the moment. Having said that, I am the last person to minimize someone else's experience and think I know what I would do in the same situation.
When I don’t get something I have to look it up - so I did. That word doubt, distazo, means “to doubt, waiver”. It’s a verb! It’s not an adjective, describing the condition of those who doubted, it’s a verb, it’s moving. They were moving, wavering in their faith. That is a beautiful thing! I believe with all my heart that is exactly what we are supposed to do, waver, move through, wrestle with our faith just as Jacob wrestled with God and wouldn’t let Him go until He blessed him (Genesis 32:26). It’s what I have done through my losses, depression and marriage, and it is what I still do; and as I move through my faith, it only deepens and makes Jesus more and more real to me.
The women were told to go. They went. They saw Jesus.
The disciples were told to go. They went. They saw Jesus.
And what was the one thing they all did when they saw Him? “When they saw him, they worshiped him...” (v. 9 & 17).
Where are you being told to go?