[reprinted from June 17, 2011]
Suddenly a strong earthquake struck, and the Lord’s angel came down from heaven. He rolled away the stone and sat on it. The angel looked as bright as lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook from fear and fell down, as though they were dead.
The angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid! I know you are looking for Jesus, who was nailed to a cross. He isn’t here! God has raised him to life, just as Jesus said he would. Come, see the place where his body was lying. Now hurry! Tell his disciples that he has been raised to life and is on his way to Galilee. Go there, and you will see him. That is what I came to tell you.”
The women were frightened and yet very happy, as they hurried from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and greeted them. They went near him, held on to his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! Tell my followers to go to Galilee. They will see me there.” Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Matthew 28:2-10 (CEV)
I am a very visual person. When I was in college and required to memorize all the bones in the body and veins and arteries, I had to write them all down. I could not just read and memorize. When I saw The Passion of the Christ a few years ago, the Scripture passages that related to the passion became real to me. I saw a more tangible glimpse into the depth of the love that God has for us. His love was manifested in vivid color of blood and sweat and I saw what my sin did to Him, and yet He still loved me.
I have read this passage many times and yet, today, I am struck by the work of the angel. Why did the angel roll away the stone? Did God need help exiting the tomb? No, Jesus was already gone out of the tomb. The angel rolled away the stone to let the women in.
And then there are the women. I have had some days of discouragement. These women are discouraged. They were the ones who stood near the cross, never leaving Jesus alone when so many had deserted Him. They were there to anoint His body for burial. Despite their grief, they got up and came to anoint His cold body. Tired, profoundly sad, and even frightened of the Romans and what they might do, these women went faithfully and obediently to do this task. Was it going to change the world? They had no hope. They were not being paid. They would receive nothing in return. They were going to the tomb to give not receive.
There are times that God asks the same of me. I am asked to give, faithfully complete a task without seeing or receiving any payment. Obedient service because I love Jesus. This is what discipleship means.
And like the women, there are times in my life, when God rolls away the huge stone that blocks my vision from seeing into His plan, and I get a look into the miracle that He has allowed me to be a part. Or He may suddenly appear in my life with a message â€“
DON’T GIVE UP!
That is what He has done again today. He has encouraged me and shown me again how very much He loves me. And so I will get up again today and be obedient to the task(s) that God gives me today. I will count on Him taking care of tomorrow, knowing that He commands angels and is alive.
He’s Alive written and sung by Don Francisco