Our belief about the resurrection determines a pivotal point of our faith: Do we believe that God is living and active, or is He a thing of the past, defeated by this world?
Matthew 28 gives us a unique glimpse at this monumental day. In this passage, two women were traveling to visit the tomb of their friend Jesus following his public crucifixion. It seems important that we acknowledge the intimacy of their relationship. After all, it was Mary Magdalene from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons. These women were more than just followers, they were friends. And on this day, they were likely confused and weary friends, mourning the death of a man dear to them. It was in this desire for a final moment of nearness to their Savior that these women would walk into likely the most significant moment of their lives.
Let’s walk with them for a moment.
Upon their arrival at the tomb, the angel immediately dispels their fear. Surely, standing at the empty tomb would have quickened their hearts and ushered in a sense of panic. I have a hunch, however, that the angel’s next phrase brought them the greatest peace: He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. This phrase is nothing short of miraculous; the very utterance of Jesus’s resurrection has extreme implications for our faith. Yet, my favorite part of the phrase is the last several words: just as He said. Jesus had promised His return; He assured His followers that death would be defeated. The angel’s words remind us of this one monumental truth: Jesus keeps His promises.
Immediately after his proclamation of the resurrected King, the angel invites the women to come and see. Is that not what we are seeking still today? We want someone to usher us in, to validate our fears and doubts, and invite us to come and see. Jesus is never afraid of the invitation; our doubts never prove too much, because His life and His Word hold up. The invitation of the angel sounds to me much like the one Jesus gave to Thomas when he extended his nail-scarred hands to wash away Thomas’s doubts. Come and see. It has always been our invitation.
The call does not end here. We must enter in, we must come and see, but there is more. The women did not stop at the sight of the empty tomb. The angel first offered them an invitation: come and see, but he next offered them an opportunity: go and tell.
Our call is much the same today. Jesus invites us in and then offers us the opportunity to go and tell. Ours is a gospel made for multiplying. It is in our obedience that God is most pleased. He wants us to come and see. He wants us to know more of Him, to taste and see that He is good. Then He desires that we would go and tell of the wonders of His love. Once we have tasted His goodness, to go and tell is a natural outpouring.
Surely, these two women could have walked away from the tomb in fear that day the way many of us choose to walk away from God opportunities. The news of the resurrection would have made its appearance without them, but they would have missed a golden opportunity. God does not need us, but He chooses us. In His rising, He resurrects the dead parts of our lives and invites us to a grander unfolding story. Let’s not miss this. May we never live as if the stone was not rolled away.
1. What is God inviting you into today? How can you come and see more of Him?
2. What opportunity is He offering you to go and tell? How can your life reflect the truth and glory of the resurrection?