Jesus died around three in the afternoon (Luke 23:44–46). The faithful and courageous women disciples who had accompanied Jesus from Galilee—including his mother, Mary—stayed with him until he exhaled his last breath. Then they followed those who carried his body to the tomb to see where it was laid. After that they returned home to prepare aromatic spices and perfumes for anointing and preserving the body (Luke 23:55–56).
How exhausted and devastated the women must have felt. We believed he was the Messiah! He was going to start a new kingdom. But we watched him die. He raised others from the dead so why did he let himself be crucified? How can he be gone?
However it was now the Sabbath and they were required to rest. But how can you rest when you’re in shock? When the body must be anointed? When all hope seems lost? When you’re afraid they might come for you next?
Imagine their struggle. Did despair take over? Did they loose faith because they had witnessed his death? Most crucially, did they forget what Jesus had said—that he would rise again on the third day?
I can relate to these women. I serve and love a good God who promises healing, abundant life, and peace, yet I’m confused. For life is full of pain, death, war, and injustice. It looks like sin has won. It seems like I misunderstood the plan. When I concentrate on the trouble around me and the evil in the world, it can feel like God is dead.
But the story doesn’t end here. Very early on the morning after the Sabbath, the women ran to the tomb. To their surprise, they found heavenly beings instead of a body (Luke 24:1–3). The angels reassured and reminded them:
“Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has been raised! Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee. Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said.Luke 24:5–6, Matthew 28:5–6 (emphasis mine)
Then the women remembered his words (Luke 24:8). And their despair turned to joy as they ran to tell the men (Matthew 28:8). Yes! He did say he would rise again, didn’t he? It’s beginning to make sense. He truly is God and he is alive!
As with these dear women, I need to be reminded of what Jesus has said:
- I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it (Matthew 16:18).
- I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry (Matthew 11:28, 30).
- In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world (John 16:33).
- I give you a new commandment—just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another (John 13:34).
- I am going away to make a place for you. And I will come again and take you with me. (John 14:2–3)
- The Holy Spirit will teach you, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you (John 14:26).
- Go and make disciples of all nations. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:19–20).
So often I act as though God is still in the tomb. Can I believe that he is alive and will do the miraculous, just as he said? Can I remember and trust that he will be true to his word? To not be afraid, but rather to go and tell of his power and resurrection as the women disciples did?
What has God said to you? What seems to be happening instead? Remember his words.
He has risen. He is alive. He has power. He is great and good. Go and tell!