Rehearse and reflect with me, in amazement and prayer, over some of the first moments of discovery of this wonder of wonders – Jesus is risen from the dead!
1. Consider the darkness, not only of this night, but of all that is: Jesus has been dead for two nights. You cannot sleep and dare you pray, in this darkness?
“Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark …” (John 20.1)
2. Walk with the women to the place where Jesus is entombed. You have been thoughtful to purchase spices to anoint Jesus’ body all the more, but have forgotten how you will get into the tomb. Feel the frustration and wring your hands, for in your deep grief you have been forgetful of something some basic, but crucial. Pray.
“After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some spices to put on Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just as the sun was coming up, they went to the tomb. On their way, they were asking one another, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance for us?'” (Mark 16.1-3)
3. Just as you and the others draw close to the tomb, the earth shakes beneath your feet. As if you were not already shook up enough!
“At that moment there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, went forward and rolled back the stone and took his seat upon it. His appearance was dazzling like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook with terror at the sight of him and collapsed like dead men.” (Matthew 28.2-4)
4. You and the others are now standing before the tomb, but you are shocked and distraught by what you see – the stone covering the tomb’s entrance has been rolled away! But, this is only the beginning of astonishing things!
“They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance of the tomb. They went in, but they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, two men in shining clothes suddenly stood beside them. The women were very afraid; they bowed their heads to the ground. The men said to the women, ‘Why are you looking for a living person here? This is a place for the dead. Jesus is not here. He has risen from death! Do you remember what he said in Galilee? He said that the Son of Man must be given to evil men, be killed on a cross, and rise from death on the third day.’ Then the women remembered what Jesus had said.” (Luke 24.2-8)
5. All of you are now trembling and speechless. You flee from the tomb, the angels, the emptiness, the fullness – all of it! Your mind and your body race each other as you run, thinking not at all to stop and speak to anyone you encounter along the way. You could not stop if you wanted to!
“The women were shaking and confused. They went out and ran away from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16.8)
6. But wait. What! Who is this you almost run past? You stop dead in your tracks. It is Jesus himself! Alive! And well! And … how can this be? This is too good to be true. But, true it is; true HE is! All of you throw yourselves at his feet and grab hold of him with a grip that cannot be broken even as your mind tries to get a grip on everything, too. And you worship him! Oh how, you worship him, your whole being now racing with amazement and awe, fear and fumbling, praise and prayer!
“… very frightened but also filled with great joy … 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 28.8-10)
7. And you – we – are still reporting it to this very day! Hallelujah! HS IS RISEN!
“When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others.” (Luke 24.9)
AND THE STORY CONTINUES!
Are you a part of it?
Pray. Pursue him. Never stop.