Easter: the Resurrection Really is Good News
As we pause on the forthcoming Good Friday to reflect on the Resurrection, it’s worth noting that the first two people to witness the empty tomb were women: Mary of Magdalene and Mary the mother of James.
Why is that a big deal? It’s yet another reminder of how the Savior affirmed the value of women at a time when females weren’t even considered reliable witnesses in a court of law.
Our pastor brought this out in a recent sermon just before concluding a months-long exploration of the book of Mark.
It wasn’t just that the first two witnesses were women; they ventured forth not knowing how they could remove the huge rock that sealed the tomb. Nor how they could get past the guards posted there to prevent anyone from removing the body.
“Where all the guys?” our pastor asked. “They ran away. There is love and devotion in (the women’s) action. It took courage to go to the tomb.”
Rolling Away the Stone
Some might call the two Marys a bit foolhardy, heading to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of Jesus while lacking a coherent plan to get inside.
Yet when they arrive, the stone is already rolled away. Inside sits an angel in a white robe, telling them not to be alarmed. Then he “reads their mail,” telling them they are looking for the crucified Jesus.
The angel follows with the words that still inspire millions across the world: “He is risen. He is not here. … But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee” (Mark 16:6-7 MEV).
He is risen. The Lord who overcame death is alive. Among the many lessons our pastor brought out about this startling news:
- We should never worry about what God is going to do.
The Lord has a way of stirring up things like no one else. Two months ago an impromptu extended chapel service at Asbury University stretched on for nearly two weeks. It so startled people and created such a shockwave of publicity that people came from around the world to be part of the spiritual glow—so many that at one point Wilmore police prevented anyone else from entering the town.
There is considerable discussion these days of fading church attendance, family dissolution, societal chaos, and mass shootings. While I don’t discount the seriousness of any of those factors, we must remember that in the twinkling of an eye, God can create a Great Awakening. He can use the seeds of disaster to create hunger for Him.
- We can rejoice over Jesus not being allowed to remain in the grave.
“He came (to earth) for a specific purpose: to die for our sin,” our pastor said. “He couldn’t stay dead. He is the innocent, sinless Son of God. Jesus was delivered up to the cross because of our sin, but raised for our justification.”
- The same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to us.
This is the best news of all. The same Holy Spirit that created a resurrection lives in each person who professes Jesus as Lord. This immeasurable power is able to do (as Ephesians 3:20 puts it) “exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine.”
No matter who this message about the Resurrection upsets, no matter who tries to stifle it or deter anyone from proclaiming it, it will go forth. Jesus is alive.