The Lord Be With You Today!
Christ Is Risen!
He Is Risen, Indeed!
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning,
the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
(The so-called "religious" leaders had hastily buried Jesus’ body
before sundown on the Friday before
when the holy Sabbath day, the Feast of Passover, would begin
and when, according to their religious customs,
it would be unlawful for a body to remain hanging on a cross.
While they had just tortured and murdered an innocent Jesus
following the mockery of any semblance of a legal and just trial,
they were scrupulous in keeping the fine point of their law
to remove His Body from the cross before sundown.
Because of the haste of Jesus’ burial,
the women who had been devoted to Him
and who cared about a proper burial for their beloved Rabbi
had been unable to anoint His body before His burial.
Filled with grief and mourning the loss of their loved One,
devastated and still reeling from the sudden
and unexpected turn of events on Friday,
their hopes having been dashed that Jesus was truly their long-awaited Messiah,
not understanding how so much could have changed
in the week following the Sunday just the week before,
before Jesus' arrest and murder
when the crowds had so delighted in Jesus as He rode into the city
and even clamored to crown Him as their king,
not understanding how they could have been so wrong
or, more frightening, how Jesus could have been so tragically wrong,
how all His promises had been meaningless,
not knowing how they would ever be able
to do the impossible and roll the stone away
that blocked the entrance to the tomb,
not knowing how they would face this seemingly insurmountable circumstance,
they were determined at least to try to do the right thing to honor their dead Master.
They fully expected to find Jesus’ corpse,
His stone-cold, rock-hard, lifeless, dead body
lying in the tomb where He had been left on Friday.
How often we, too, are blind to the unchanging, unrelenting, and mighty truths
the Lord is trying to reveal to us
because we focus only on the narrow expectations
we have formed in our own thinking!)
They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
(When they saw the stone moved from its place,
what shock and concern they must have immediately felt,
fearful of even further violations to Jesus' body after His death.
Even when the Lord rolls away the stones that hold us in darkness,
we can still fail to grasp His truth, instead fearing even worse
as we face seemingly incomprehensible circumstances!)
but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
(They must have entered the tomb hesitantly and apprehensively,
with fear and trepidation, frightened about what they might find.
Thank God that we can enter the tombs of darkness and hopelessness in our lives today
and see with our own eyes the stark and clear evidence
that death is gone! The tomb is empty!)
While they were wondering about this,
suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
(Not only do they not see Jesus’ body,
but they are shocked when two beings suddenly appear
who are so other-worldly they are unlike anyone they had ever seen before
When we look for Jesus in the death of our circumstances,
He shows us the truth through His messenger, the Holy Spirit,
and we see and hear the light of His message shining with life and hope!)
In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground,
(In terror the women fall to the ground
covering their heads and cowering in fear.
The reality of the spiritual world crashes in on their human perspective
and causes them to yield to new truth!)
but the men said to them,
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here; He has risen!”
(And with these words, the angels proclaim
the glorious message of the Risen Christ.
These heavenly messengers are given the high privilege
of being the first to proclaim the truth of Christ’s resurrection to us.
Not only did He die on the cross for our sins,
but He rose from the dead, alive and vibrant,
vigorous and pulsating with power over death, hell, and the grave,
and filled with the resurrection power of new life,
fulfilling the true meaning of the Feast of First Fruits,
revealing Himself as the first to overcome death, the first fruits from the dead!
Though it looked the darkest that first Passover weekend,
though it looked as if God had forsaken them,
though it looked as if Jesus had failed,
never had the Father been more intensely at work,
never had Jesus been more in control, more victorious!
When our own lives look the darkest and most hopeless,
when all manner of death invades our lives,
that's the precise time that the Lord is doing His mightiest work!
He makes the darkness and death of Friday give way
to the glorious light and life of Resurrection Sunday!
Herein is the true Easter message, the Good News of the Gospel.
If Jesus had only died, He would have been a heroic and tragic martyr,
but the story of redemption would have ended with His death.
The glorious news is that His death gave way
to His magnificent and wondrous resurrection—
a sure cause for hope and joy in whatever we face today!)
Christ Is Risen!
He Is Risen, Indeed!
May the Lord richly bless you this day!
In Christ's love,
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