- Exodus 37:1-38:31
- Matthew 28:1-20
- Psalm 34: 11-22
- Proverbs 9:9-10
Here are these women again, caring for the needs of Jesus, going to the tomb. The place they last laid their savior. Mary Magdalene had been healed of seven demons in earlier chapters, where else WOULD she have been. And the “other” Mary, she seems to hang out with Ms. Magdalene quite a bit. Apparently she found hope in Jesus, too. Whatever, here they are devistated and lost doing the only thing they know to do. The only choice they have is to go to the only person, place or thing that ever gave them hope. Even though he is dead, maybe they can find some solice there.
I kind of imagine that the Eleven were a bit of a mess and that’s why they weren’t there. It may have been a little bit chaotic with them, so the women just left and went to the tomb. The men were sporadic on a good day when Jesus was there…but now that he was gone, they were a bunch of bumbling idiots. Who could blame them though? They had all left everything behind to follow Jesus!
NOW WHAT WERE THEY ALL SUPPOSED TO DO?!?!
This visual though!!! Right? These verses imply that the earthquake happened as a result of the the angel of the Lord coming down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolling back the stone and SITTING ON IT. To the guards the angel says, “Boom, boys! Get on out of here with your bully selves! Jesus is alive! There’s nothing for you to do here anymore! Your job is finished….but not the consequences.”
But as for the women….
“just as he said.”….Jesus had warned them that the crucifixion was going to happen. He also told them that he would rise. They knew beforehand. But honestly, are we ever REALLY ready to lose someone we love? A beloved grandparent who’s time inevitably comes, or child who loses their battle with cancer, a loved one who can’t seem to overcome addiction. We know the time or consequences are coming….but we are just never ready.
Know this, friends. God is near when we suffer. Its hard to see at the tomb of grief. But he’s near, ESPECIALLY when we are brokenhearted. He’s there in the neighborhood friends that bring food. He’s there in the friend that chooses to sit with you while you cry. He’s there in the quiet of your morning tears. He’s there when you can’t sleep at night because you are panicked and don’t know what to do next. He’s there even when you can’t FEEL him there.
For Jesus to appear to the women first, much less for the gospels to be WRITTEN that way, is so not in character of the times in which this happened. Back then, women had ZERO rights. The only value they held was to produce children (male children at that) and provide dinner for their husbands.
But then, Jesus came. Jesus gives value to EVERY SINGLE PERSON, in particular the women. Especially the women who wait. These women stuck it out, they were there caring for his needs all the way to the end and beyond. He rewards their faithfulness with “Greetings!” The last time they had clasped his feet was to lay him in the tomb, and now he was here! So what else could they do? They worship him!! He’s ALIVE!!
Jesus tells them to go tell the brothers to do what he told them to do. Get back to the plan. Get back on track. “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Mt 26:32. Grieving is necessary and its part of the process of letting go. We have to grieve, get closure. But the time does come when we have to rise and move forward.
Grief comes in all forms, change of job, death of a loved one, moving to a new location, loss of innocence, loss of a friendship. Any time we lose one thing, and go to another, whether it be a decision of our own, or not, there is grief. Each person experiences grief in a different way. Sadly, some turn to familiar unhealthy habits (like eating, drinking, etc) Some may lash out in fits of rage or sit in depression and want to lay in bed all day. There may be a combination of all of these or more. Its hard to know when it will be time to pick up the pieces and move on. But I promise, the Lord is near and loves you more than you can ever know.
The thing to do is spend time in the Word of God, possibly in community or with a trusted counselor or advisor. That’s where we find the ability to keep going. We spend time knowing that no matter what Jesus, the one who loves us more than life itself, the one that was willing to suffer this horrific death, had risen! He’s our only hope! He will guide us when we don’t know what to do next. He will give us just enough wisdom to know how to get through the next day, hour, or even just the next minute. Those women, they didn’t really know what the future held, and neither do we. But when they worshiped him, continued to care for his needs, he told them. One step at a time.
Father God, I thank you that when I seek you, you greet me. For the person reading this that is lost and grieving today, the one who doesn’t know what to do next, give them hope. Lord, I thank you for the time that you give us to rest and sit in our grief. I thank you that you love us and value that time of remembering and wondering. I pray that you speak to me and to the person reading this, that you speak clearly and give us wisdom and understanding. Teach us and guide us, Lord.
Are you feeling stuck? Dig in to the Word, my friend. I promise you, God will speak through His word. Be patient with the Lord, and with yourself.
What is Jesus saying to you today? Its in your heart. It won’t be an audible word, but you’ll feel it. Listen.
If the grief is too heavy, I pray that you will seek out the help of a Christian counselor or guide.