|"Women at the Sepulchre" by Harold Copping|
TO CHEW ON: "'But go tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.'" Mark 16:7.
The angel who welcomed the women at Jesus' empty tomb had obviously been listening in on Jesus' conversations with His followers. The little phrase at the end of our focus verse "...as He said to you" was like a rebuke that reminded them 'He told you all this would happen. You could have expected it.'
Did Jesus indeed predict His resurrection while He was still alive? Yes, many times, according to the Gospel writers:
- "From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must ... be raised on the third day" - Matthew 16:21.
- "...and the third day He will rise again" - Matthew 20:19.
- "'But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee'" Matthew 26:32.
- "He commanded that they should tell no one the things they had seen till the Son of Man had risen from the dead" - Mark 9:9.
- "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up'" - John 2:19.
So why were they so surprised? Perhaps they forgot? Perhaps Jesus' words had been so far from fitting into their scheme of what they thought possible, they never really heard them in the first place?
Jesus' words are still trustworthy. Just as what He said about Himself rising from the dead came about, so we can be confident that the things He said that have not yet happened will happen. As in:
- He will return (Matthew 24:27-28; Acts 1:11).
- There will be a day of judgment, reckoning, and rewards (Matthew 25:14-46).
- The earth and its systems will pass away (Matthew 13:47-50; 24:35).
Have we really heard these things? Do we believe them? Does our belief affect the way we live? Or will the angels need to someday break through our shock and incredulity with "It has happened as He said to you"?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, You arose from the dead as You said You would. Help me to hear, believe, and adjust my life to the things You have said that have not yet happened. Amen.
MORE: He is risen. He is risen indeed!
Today is the day millions celebrates the resurrection of Christ from the dead. (Liturgy for Easter Day.)
The Collect prayer that begins the liturgy:
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord's resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
We join with Steve Green in singing the triumphant "Christ the Lord is Risen Today".
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.