Andy Hollifield 4-1-18
Well, you have made it through 24 hours and no one has come to arrest you yet. Maybe they just don’t want to draw any more attention to Jesus. They’re probably hoping; “out of sight, out of mind” and now since he’s gone; things will get back to normal. For over three years you had walked with him and depending on who you asked, all of you had done nothing but stir everyone up with false doctrine. But, that was then and this is now. You could always go back to fishing, after all, you did make a living at it for a long time. Maybe everyone would just figure these past few years were just a time when you went off the deep end for a while. Somehow though, you still believe in him and you still want to. Life just seems so empty and not worth living without him. You have had loved ones to die before but it didn’t hurt like this. None of them held eternal hope for you. Now here you are with the other ten men that had become more like family than anything else in the last three years. No one can understand exactly how you feel except these other men that had followed him as you had, just them and some other folks that had also followed him including several women.
But then all of a sudden, just as the sun was rising over the horizon, comes a frantic pounding on the door. All of you think that this is the end. They have come to arrest you. But no, it is some of the women that had always followed Jesus with you. You hadn’t seen some of them since the trial and you wonder if they can ever forgive you. As someone opens the door, Mary rushes right over to you, and you brace yourself for the tongue lashing you are sure is coming. Instead, with tear-filled eyes and her hearts bubbling over, she begins to tell you how that he is risen and they have already seen him. No, that’s not possible! You have to see for yourself so you take off at a dead run with John to the tomb thinking to yourself on the way that you all had seen him die and with that hole in his side from the spear, there was no question about it. No one could have survived all that he went through. John outruns you and stops outside. Not you, you’re going in to see for yourself! John comes in behind you and you both see that not only is he gone, but he took time to fold the linen napkin that had been about his face and laid it by itself and not with the other graveclothes. You just can’t wrap your mind around all that has happened. What a whirlwind it has been for three days! You gather that evening with the other disciples, realizing the Jews may still come after you. So here you are, just watching and waiting because the angel had told Mary that he would see them that evening in Galilee. These two followers from Emmaus have just came in and are telling you that they had seen him just before dark and he had walked with them all the way to Emmaus. Then, as they started to eat supper, he took the bread and blessed it and brake it and gave it to them and then they realized who he was and he vanished out of their sight. Before they could finish their story, someone appears right in the middle of them and says “Peace be unto you.” What are you going to do now? You have never been this terrified! You once thought you had seen a spirit in a storm one night and it was Jesus walking on the water. You also walked with him. But you are sure now that this is a spirit and suddenly he tries to calm all of your fears and shows you his hands and feet and tells you to touch him. You still can’t believe it’s really him and he ask for some fish and honeycomb. You see him eat. A spirit can’t do that! Suddenly he begins to explain a lot of the things he had said before he died and now they make sense.
And there is you, Mary. It is only fitting that you were the first to find him missing and carry the news of his resurrection to Peter and the rest. Your faith never waivered even through the trials and the crucifixion and everything. Even when Joseph of Arimathaea went and got his body to bury it, you still believed although your faith and the facts didn’t line up. How could he possibly be dead you thought? And now here you are on the first day of the week. What a week! On Friday, you went through more anguish in your heart than you thought a human could possibly stand. You couldn’t eat, you couldn’t sleep, all you could do was cry. It took everything you had this morning to go out to the tomb to properly anoint the body for burial. You had never seen an angel before but this morning one told you that he had risen and to tell his disciples he would see them in Galilee. As you went on your way, you saw him and now here he is right in front of you, in the flesh. There’s no doubt it is him. You would know him anywhere. You can never forget the sound of his voice that ordered the devils to come out of you. Now, on the evening of the third day; here you are in a room with his friends of the last three years. Everything he had said was now starting to make sense. You know he was dead but now, you know that he is alive just like he said he would be. What a week!
Just three days ago, a mother with your heart ripped out, you stood helplessly by and watched your oldest son be crucified. The false accusations still ringing in your ears. And now, he is alive again! A mother’s heart can only stand so much and this whole past week has pushed it to the limit. You couldn’t have been more overjoyed when he was born or more heartbroken when he died. You have other kids but only one conceived by the Holy Ghost. Not only is he your son but he is now your risen Savior! In the last two days, you have cried until you couldn’t cry any more and now, as of this morning, those tears have become tears of joy. Old Simeon was right thirty something years ago; this all was definitely a sword through your heart and Jesus had most definitely been spoken against in his life. But all of that is behind you now. He is alive, risen from the dead by the power of his Father. He had laid down his life just like he said he would and had taken on himself the sins of us all as Isaiah had said four hundred years before. Now, he had risen again and had proved to the world that he is the Holy, sinless, Lamb of God and as John the Baptist once said,”Which taketh away the sin of the world.” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!
Andy Hollifield 4-1-18