After Jesus was killed on the cross and buried in the tomb… his followers were grieving, lost, betrayed, and quitting the life purpose that they signed on for when Jesus was alive: bringing hope to the world.
After Jesus was killed on the cross and buried in the tomb… there was no reason to go on and every reason to give up. Remember that Jesus’ followers did NOT have any idea that he would be resurrected.
If it were me… if it were you… we would probably have done the same thing: get ready to pack up and limp out of town with our tail between our legs.
So, imagine the response of the followers when Mary comes to them frantic and saying that Jesus tomb was empty. Imagine the conflict of emotion (doubt, fear, anger, confusion, hopelessness). It seems like an unbearably heavy burden for them to pick themselves up and ‘go and see’. Here again is the Scripture we have been reflecting on this week (and the subject of our message today at 11am: Waretown/Barnegat Anew, 27 Bryant Rd. in Waretown):
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. (John 20:1-10)
Great triumphs in life look easy on paper and from hindsight. It is easy to take for granted that the disciples went to the tomb… and by going to see they would eventually meet up with a whole new reality that would change them, and the world, forever. But for them to do what they did at the time was a monumental act of courage and hope (faith actually came later).
In our lives right now the same thing holds true: our courage and hope today will be the triumphs recorded on paper and celebrated in hindsight tomorrow. But, right NOW…
…its all about taking that next step. Are you ready? What if you don’t?