Yesterday at Easter services we were looking at the resurrection story in Matthew 28 when I noticed something really interesting. Look at the first few verses.
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Put yourself in the shoes of Mary and Mary. That morning they are still in mourning over the loss of Jesus. They are on their way to continue their mourning as they go to visit the tomb. Perhaps to stil, to contemplate, to wonder, to lament, to begin to work through their anger, loss and betrayal.
Their pain is still fresh. “He said he’d rise”
Their heart still aches. “I trusted him.”
The sting of death is still fresh. “He lost”
Their dreams are sufficiently dashed. “I left everything to follow him.”
Hope is extinguished. “Now what am I supposed to do?!?
When it feels like things can’t get any worse, an earthquake hits.
It is as if the gods were mocking them with the first earthquake during the crucifixion there is another earthquake similarly mocking them in their misery.
I have always glossed over this part of the passion story. Perhaps because it is so close to the empty tomb and I know things are just about to get better. But can you even imagine what must have been going through their minds as the earth shook again?
“Why?” must have been echoing through their hearts. Tears must have being to flow again mixing with the hundreds of others that have drenched their garments the past two days.
BUT. . .
Then the lightning came…the angel appeared…and the words that changed everything for them come, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”
The pain turns to joy
The heart ache is transformed into love
Death is swallowed in victory.
The dream is ignited
So where are you in the Resurrection story?
Are you still at the foot of the Cross wondering what has happened?
Have you let yourself still live in the confusion and lonliness of Saturday?
Are you one the way back to the tomb to mourn the loss?
Has He Risen for you?