Surprise! Well, it shouldn’t have really been a surprise, but it was. It was early in the morning. The women had prepared the spices a day ago. Jesus’ body would be starting to smell already, so they had no time to waste. But when they arrived, Jesus body was not where it was supposed to be. What happened? The confusion, the fear, the anger, the surprise. What would you have been feeling if it had been you to happen upon the tomb that morning with a purpose in mind only to have your world turned upside down?
Then it happens: the a-ha moment. While they were cowering in fear because of these strange, dazzling looking men that appeared, they heard the message of reassurance. “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” It may have taken a moment or two to really sink in. What had they just heard? Talk about a pivot!
They went from expecting to cry more tears at the loss to tears of joy! They were expecting to pay their last respects and out of reverence anoint their leader, their teacher, their Lord, yet they were now thrilled to know he was alive, wondering where he was. Imagine the thrill, the awe.
What did they do? They rushed back to tell the others. Still, they had not seen Jesus. But they trusted the words of these dazzling men. After all, the men confirmed what Jesus had told them before. As fanciful as it might seem, the women were sure it was true. They didn’t need to see Jesus to believe. He had risen just like he said he would!
Even after hearing the women’s account, seeing the joy in them bubbling out, the men weren’t so sure. This story sounded too good to be true, like nonsense really. After all, these emotional women were probably just a little delirious from spending time anointing Jesus’ decomposing body. But just in case, Peter ran to the tomb. He was holding out hope that maybe it was true. He had to see for himself.
How many times do we have to see something first hand? Before we make a purchase or make a decision, we want to see the facts. We want to be confident and look for tangible evidence. How does that work for us in our faith journey? We can’t physically see Jesus, so how do we know he is there? That’s a struggle for many people. Some need to see to believe. Others believe though they cannot see.
So what does it all mean? Jesus’ death and resurrection? Jesus took our sins upon himself when he went to the cross that day. He sacrificed himself for every wrong that we have ever done or will do. Our sins were nailed to the tree as Jesus gripped them tightly to himself. In his own prayer in John 17:19, recall Jesus’ words, “And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.”
Jesus’ death opened the door and gave us access to God the Father. We can freely talk to God, ask him for help, give him praise. Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” What a gift! Jesus died and rose again for us. It is time to celebrate our Easter faith and gratitude, something we should do every day!
Let’s pray. Lord, Your victory over the grave is such a triumph. Thank you for all that you endured for me. I want this joy and thrill to stay with me beyond this moment. You broke my chains of sin. I am free because of what you did. May my story resonate with others so that they also turn to you for their saving grace. Use me, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.