Sunday, April 20, 2014
No More Fear
Matt. 28:1 ¶ After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb.
Matt. 28:2 And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
Matt. 28:3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
Matt. 28:4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.
Matt. 28:5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.
Matt. 28:6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
Matt. 28:7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”
Matt. 28:8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
Matt. 28:9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
Matt. 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
When the women approached the empty tomb an angel was there to greet them to allay their fears. They were terrified to approach the tomb because of all that had transpired and yet, out of love for Jesus they wanted to come and take care of his body. However, what they would discover could have possibly brought more fear and yet, God in his love provided for an angel to explain to them what had transpired, and to speak to their fears. The angel tells them, “Do not be afraid.” In that instant the fears are transformed from fear of having lost Jesus, to a potential new fear — the unknown. An angel is speaking to them! Jesus isn’t there! The angel said, “He is not here, for he has been raised, as he said.” No more fear, but anticipation of seeing Jesus alive so they leave in that transitional state of “fear and great joy” as the thought of Jesus alive begins to sink in. And then, they run into Jesus and everything is truly transformed and there is no more fear, for He is risen!
He is risen, indeed! And there is no more need for fear.
We may find ourselves in the place of the women. We are terrified by what life hands us and we wonder what it is that lies ahead. There is the great unknown of transition. Where is Jesus in the midst of it all? We wonder whether life will ever be the same again and we think that the pain is more than we can imagine.
At the moment of our deepest need we discover that God has sent a comforter, or a messenger, to reach out and minister to us. This “angel” helps us to see that our focus has been on the wrong thing. The women were focused on Jesus’ death. How had they not heard that he had told them that he would be raised in three days? The angel refocus’ their attention and helps them to remember the promise of Jesus. Not only does the angel refocus them but points them in the direction of confirmation. It’s time to look at the facts. There is no need to fear for Jesus is no longer in the tomb! It’s time for us to look at the facts and realize that resurrection power is available to us as we look in the direction of the risen Lord.
Don’t be afraid — and go tell others what it is that you have experienced. There is no more need for fear. Jesus has risen. The tomb is empty.
Lord, we rejoice in your resurrection and the destruction of fear. Amen.