Jesus is Here!
By Candy Arrington
Silent mist blankets the ground as birds chirp the morning to life. Hurried footfalls echo in the stillness of predawn. Magenta swaths spread across a blue-black sky. It is the first day of the week, the horror and agony separated only by the required observance of the Sabbath. The women make their way to the garden tomb.
“I am fearful. The ground shook again just as it did when he died. Perhaps we should not have come.”
“But we must anoint his body. It is fitting.”
“What if the soldiers won’t let us in? I’ve heard the tomb is sealed.”
“Surely, they will agree to allow you in, his own mother.”
“I’m not sure I can bear it – the holes in his hands and feet, the wound in his side. Such agony. Oh, my son!”
“Don’t cry, Mary. He loved you so. You honor him by coming here today.”
“Look! What is this? The guards are gone and the stone is rolled away.”
“We must go in and see. Come.”
“Oh, please, no! They have taken his body. He endured their brutality in life. Can they disrespect him in death also?”
“Mary, calm yourself. I will get Peter. He will help us. Go home now and wait. It will be all right.”
“Oh, Mary of Magdala, I am thankful you’re with me. I cannot think clearly. Yes, find Peter. He will know what to do.”
Leaving the mother of Jesus behind, Mary Magdalene runs. Although her robes tangle between her legs, she increases her speed. Now that she is away from Mary, panic overwhelms her. Her chest heaves with exertion and emotion. Have they destroyed his body? Weren’t the beatings enough? The nightmare continues.
Only a few days ago, her Rabboni entered Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowd cried “Hosanna” and spread their cloaks and palm fronds in front of him. It was a time of great rejoicing. Then, suddenly, the mood swung and the people cried “Crucify Him!” The shift was almost impossible to comprehend. She was still in shock regarding the events that followed – a trial in the middle of the night, a savage beating, Barabas set free, Jesus condemned, and then, the agonizing trip to Golgotha and his death. Mary had witnessed it all. And now, the ultimate injustice. They’ve stolen his body.
“Peter, open the door! It’s Mary.”
“Woman, what is this? We are in mourning and here you are pounding the door at dawn.”
“Peter, you must come. He is gone. They’ve taken his body and we don’t know where they have put him.”
“Mary, your grief has you talking foolishness. Go home and return when you’ve had some rest.”
“No Peter, it’s true. Please come with me to the tomb. Bring someone with you. You will see.”
Peter hesitates. The other disciple begins to run, reaching the tomb ahead of him. Peter’s pace is slower. This time, Mary doesn’t run, her energy giving way to overwhelming exhaustion.
When Peter arrives, he stoops, looks in, and enters the tomb. The strips of linen remain, but the body is gone. The head cloth lies neatly folded, separate from the linen. The other disciple sees and believes. Exiting the tomb, they see Mary crying. Neither knows how to comfort her so they trudge home.
Through her tears, Mary again looks into the tomb. The sight fills her with fear and awe. Two angels, blazing white, sit where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and one at the foot of the slab.
“Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord and I don’t know where he is.”
Mary turns. A man. It must be the gardener.
“Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
“Sir, if you have taken him, please tell me where you put him, and I will go get him.”
He speaks her name. “Mary.”
Her eyes widen. Looking at him again, she realizes. “Rabboni!”
Falling to her knees, she wraps her arms around Jesus.
“Do not hold on to me for I have not returned to the Father. Instead, go and tell my brothers that I am returning to my Father, to my God and your God.”
Again, Mary runs, her exhaustion replaced with joy.
“Peter, open the door!”
“Mary, I’ve told you I don’t know where he is.”
“But Peter, I have seen him. I have seen the Lord! He is alive!”
Have you ever read an eyewitness account of an event in the newspaper or heard eyewitness testimony at a trial? The testimony of each witness highlights different aspects of what occurred. While the four gospels give slightly differing views of the resurrection, they are all eyewitness accounts. Those who experienced the event leave us a glimpse through Scripture of what actually happened.
Many times we read and believe urban legends that come to us in the form of a forwarded e-mail from an unknown source. If we’re willing to believe this type of information without checking it out, shouldn’t we more readily accept the truth of the resurrection recorded in God’s Word?
Jesus is living and is as interested in our challenges and struggles as He was in the lives of those who walked with Him on His earthly journey. He is eager for us to reach out to Him, whispering our fears and frustrations, and leaning on Him for support and comfort.
Jesus is here. He’s not missing as His followers feared. Just as He appeared to and interacted with His disciples following His death and resurrection, He is active and present in our lives today. With resurrection faith, He is only a prayer away.
Do You Want a Relationship with God?
If you want this kind of relationship with God, pray this prayer right now:
Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you took the pain of the cross to give me new life. I ask you to come into my life and to give me your peace and joy. I confess that I am a sinner -- that I have gone my own way and have done wrong. Please forgive me for my sins. I receive you now as my Lord and Savior. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit. Help me to follow you and to serve you all my life. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, you are now a child of God. The things of your old life have passed away and He has made all things new.
We want to join you in celebrating your new life. Please send us an e-mail to let us know that you prayed to receive Jesus as your Savior. Or you can call our Prayer Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. A caring friend is available to talk with you and send you some resources to help you begin your walk with the Lord.
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