None of these words sufficiently expresses what I feel Mary Magdalene and the women experienced when, early in the morning, they found Jesus’ tomb empty. As if EVERYTHING else they had witnessed over the last few days wasn’t enough… now Jesus’ body was GONE!
In reading the gospel of John, it becomes clear that while Jesus repeatedly told his followers that his death and resurrection were imminent, well, they just didn’t “get it.” Their savior, THE MESSIAH had come, trying to grasp that he would die just didn’t fit their schema of the situation. But he did die because, after all, that was the plan, his purpose, our ultimate rescue.
During Jesus’ trial, crucifixion, death and burial… his followers couldn’t yet see the full picture.
And so, John chapter 20 records Mary Magdalene coming to the tomb only to find it empty. The stone was rolled away, Jesus missing. She ran to find the disciples to tell them the inconceivable… Jesus’ body was gone. They come to see for themselves and indeed find the tomb empty. At some point the disciples left. And there was Mary… standing outside the tomb… crying.
Can you feel her anguish?
Can you imagine how lost she might have felt?
And then (I just love this) the gospel of Luke records angels pose this question to Mary, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Salvation had come, redemption had come. Jesus death did not end in death, this was more than simply an empty tomb. He was not to be found amongst the dead because he was alive. Jesus’ death and resurrection brings us all new life.
Sometimes we, like Mary, find ourselves looking for the living among the dead. Ephesians 2 tells us that in our sins we are dead. But the gift of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ, through grace given on the cross, is that we are ALIVE in Christ.
Have you ever forgotten that? I mean, have you ever forgotten that you are no longer subject to the death of your sins? Do you find that you are still looking for or at yourself like Mary looked for Jesus in the tomb- like you are amongst the dead, forgetting that Jesus’ sacrifice has set you free?
2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
The beauty of a resurrected Jesus is not just that he is alive, but that we are alive. WE ARE A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST. But just like Mary couldn’t immediately grasp that Jesus was not in the tomb… we too can have trouble understanding ALL that Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection mean for us who believe. And too often we still count ourselves among the dead. But in Christ we are ALIVE, we are made NEW.
What does it mean to you that you are a new creation?
Let’s think on this for a bit… It’s too big of a topic to pass over quickly. Send me a message, write a comment… come back next week for more of a look into this life changing, life giving work of Christ in us!