Resurrection Response

Two Marys went to the tomb that they thought still held Jesus’ body.  To their surprise the earth quaked.  Even more to their surprise an angel sat on the once tomb-covering stone and spoke.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 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.”
Matthew 28:5-7 (NIV)

Is this historical event more than history to us?  A German poet expressed the importance of believers embracing the cross.

Were Christ a thousand times to Bethlehem come,
And yet not born in you, it would spell Your doom.
Golgotha’s cross, it cannot save from sin,
Unless for you that cross is raised within.
I say, it helps you not that Christ is risen,
If you yourself are still in death’s dark prison.

We must not ignore God’s invitation and call to change.  Once we hear the gospel truth and internalize it, our God will change us by the mighty power of the Spirit and the transforming grace of Christ.  Following such a transformation, we are to serve God and His purpose. 
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Matthew 28:8 (NIV)
The Marys “hurried away from the tomb.”  We must run out and tell!  Christ is alive!  He does not desire billions of grave dwellers; rather, He wants us to declare that while He did die, He is now alive and He is the Savior.  When we internalize the cross, Christ compels us to share His story.

As the women ran to tell the eleven (remaining) Apostles, they had two conflicting emotions . . . Joy and Fear.  We understand their joy.  Remember?  They were going to see a tomb.  This was to pay respect to a dead man.  They did not go with any hope of a resurrection.  Expectations never stop Jesus!  Jesus provided much more than a tomb to visit – He provided an empty tomb and new life.  They found joy indeed.

At the same time, their fear was real.  If a heavenly being visited and spoke to me, I would be scared, too.  But, isn’t it true that we scare at much less? 

Following God in full obedience sometimes brings fear.  If we have experienced fear:

-    we may be too afraid to tell our friend about Jesus
-    we may ignore God’s call to a ministry
Whatever fears we face, we know that we are not alone.  Don’t be ashamed of fear; yet don’t give in to its paralyzing power either.
9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Matthew 28:9-10 (NIV)
Jesus didn’t have to meet up with the two Marys.  They were already following in obedience.  He knew however what encouragement they would receive from seeing Him, in the flesh, again.

Jesus has not changed.  If we will obediently go and do as He commissioned us (fear and all), He will meet us.  We will not see Him in the flesh, but as He promised His first disciples, He will send the Comforter and Guide – The Spirit.

Jesus never expects us to go anywhere He wouldn’t, do anything He wouldn’t, or say anything He wouldn’t.  As Lord, He promises to be with His followers – always! 

This week we celebrate the day that changed the lives of the two Marys and changed the world.  Does that glorious day make any difference in our life today?  He is risen indeed, and that not only reveals our hope, it also reveals our responsibility.

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