Joy at the Tomb
“And go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead; and behold, he is going before you into Galilee, there you will see him; behold, I have told you.” Matthew 28:7 NASB
The Sabbath day has ended. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (also known as the mother of James, and Salome) have come to the grave of Jesus. A severe earthquake has occurred and an angel of the Lord has descended from heaven to roll away the large stone from the tomb. He’s described as having an appearance like lightning and a garment as white as pure snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. My translation, they’re so frightened they fainted. The angel says to the women “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, just as he said. Come see the place where he was lying”. After the women peer into the open grave to see that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, the angel says, “Go quickly … he is going before you into Galilee…”
Why did the angel tell them to go quickly? He wanted the women to arrive before Jesus did to share the joyful news with the disciples. These women are bubbling with joy. Don’t miss the tenderness in this moment. Jesus was going before them into Galilee. The disciples seeing Jesus for the 1st time alive… well… that’s pretty amazing and joyful wouldn’t you say? It would knock their socks off. They too would be filled with great joy and anxious to share. The angel of the Lord gave the women a great opportunity and gift; to be the 1st to share the amazing news that Jesus had done exactly what he said he would do. Jesus had told them that others would kill him, he would rise again. And rise again he did!
I was filled with overflowing joy the moment I knew Jesus died, defeating death and enduring great pain for me; for little-ol-me. By the way he died for you too! I’ve been a follower of Jesus for many years. I’ve accepted what I believe to be true; Jesus was the son of God come in the flesh. Though I don’t understand it all I accept it as truth. Once I accepted that truth, I chose to be baptized as an outward sign of my faith. Since that day I’ve lived my life in a way I hope God finds pleasing. Notice I didn’t say perfect. From the standpoint of a checklist I’m right on track having completed and checked all the boxes.
Yet, I couldn’t get this section of Scripture out of my mind. “And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy and ran to report it to his disciples.” What does Mary and others leaving quickly with great joy, thousands of years ago, have to do with me today?”
Then it hit me! How do I share Jesus with others? Do I share with great joy? Do I share boldly or shy away in timidity? Those were good questions but the one which really slapped me alongside my head and spoke to my heart… “Does my life through my speech and actions reflect the joy of Jesus in my life?”
The last question leads me to more questions. Questions such as, does reflecting Jesus with joy mean I shouldn’t be vulnerable in sharing struggles? Does reflecting Jesus mean I can never share those times I’m discontent with life’s circumstances? Does it mean I should never share my doubts, fears and times of frustration when I don’t understand what God is doing in my life? Or why? After all doesn’t having “Jesus joy” in one’s life preclude dissatisfaction, unhappiness, unsettledness and all around discontentment? Doesn’t James tell us to consider it all joy when I encounter difficult circumstances?
It seems I’ve more questions than answers. Oh well, here’s to reflecting Joy no matter my circumstances. Not quite sure how to do that as of yet. Therefore, my journey continues.