Updated: Aug 7, 2019
On their way the next morning, they draw close to the tomb as the sun rises, preparing themselves emotionally to be close to Jesus again. But this time, he will be lifeless and subject to decay. I imagine the beauty of the early morning sky felt at conflict with the aroma of grief in the air. But soon, the sunrise would match an extraordinary hope they would stumble upon. When they reach the tomb, a new wave of shock hits their chests. The stone of the tomb is rolled away! And when they enter, Jesus’ body is not there.
The stone of the tomb is rolled away! And when they enter, Jesus’ body is not there.
Just the cloth he was wrapped in and strangely a man sitting in a white robe. I’m not sure if I would be angry at who would defile his body or just terrified? But these 3 devoted women are alarmed. Regardless of whether they are ready to comprehend the word or not, this angel has the best news the world has ever received, “He is Risen!” The angel says, “The man you’re looking for, Jesus, is not here. He is risen! He’s gone ahead of you to Galilee. So tell the disciples and Peter. There you’ll see him, just as he told you”. We know the rest of the story. Jesus reveals himself to the disciples, proving to them that He kept His promise of hope and return. His resurrected presence fulfills every prophecy. He is not just man. He is from God. He IS God. His presence among them is the powerful embodiment of hope that to follow Him is not just to be taught and led on earth, it is to have a resurrected life, now and forever! The death and resurrection story always grounds me, whether I’m in joy or in pain. What Jesus did on the cross for us covers all my sins and blemishes. He bore the sins of the world, as a perfect man. He was the ultimate sacrifice, so that we could be made right with God. He is our high priest that now stands between us and God, giving us access to God in a way we couldn’t without Him. And He is our resurrected King! He defeated death. No one has before or ever will again.
He is our high priest that now stands between us and God, giving us access to God in a way we couldn’t without Him.
Although I’m jealous to have been able to be among the disciples, to witness the greatest miracle and hope there ever was, I’m reminded that I get glimmers of that miracle every day. Some days, I don’t revel in the grace and mercy we have in this Good News, especially days I’m too busy or focused on what’s not going well. And then there are other days, the hard days, where I’ve messed up somehow- spoken harshly to my husband, wronged my friend, felt hopeless, or felt envious of someone, where I need a drink from the cup of His death and resurrection, for my sins. The joy of my salvation is renewed as I’m forgiven and am covered again in His grace.
And then there’s days like when I got that call that something happened to my brother. I remember that long drive to my parents house, waiting to find out if he was still alive. It felt like an hour, even though it was only 15 min. I felt bare, powerless, sick to my stomach, and jittery. My prayers were raw and simple. I felt no compulsion to dress them up any other way. I just needed Jesus. I needed His hope. Whatever happened to my brother, I just need Jesus' death and resurrection to take it all and resurrect what my family and I could not. And every day since, I see the death and resurrection of Jesus on my brother’s face and in his soul. I see it active, working to bring reconciliation and healing where there was mistrust and betrayal.
And then there are days like today, where in all honesty, I feel like I’m holding hands with Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday.
Part of my heart feels the grief and despair for certain areas of my life that feel stuck and in deep need of Jesus. The other part of my heart rejoices with zeal, for how He has already come: in my character and life, in my marriage, in my brother and family, in providing a vibrant, healthy community after years of isolation.
I don’t know if this is common, but I struggle at times, to celebrate. It’s likely a form of control and a coping mechanism to protect myself from disappointment: “if I don’t celebrate or loose myself in joy, I won’t have to feel disappointed when something goes wrong”. But it robs me of joy and it’s robs me of getting to bask in the safe presence of my Savior that brings dead things to life, even if not in my time. I believe God is gracious with me. He knows my story, but I also hear Him inviting me to join Him in celebrating His loving goodness to His children, through the merciful gift of Jesus and all the ways his death and resurrection is at work right now for us. St Pete UG, I invite you today, to join me and join each other to celebrate our Risen King, our Hope and Healer! Tell your stories to each other, share of God's goodness and power in and around you! And for the things that grip and burden your heart, feel them fully too, without shame. And as you feel them, know that Jesus feels them and cries with you for those things. Pray in hope for how Jesus is RIGHT NOW, in this moment, at work healing and resurrecting the “dead” and painful things in your life.
We don’t know when, and there may be waiting. Yet the sun is rising. Do you see it? The Good News will meet you, there, and now for the journey. He is alive! REFLECTION QUESTIONS: 1. How have you seen God bring the Good News in your life? Thank God for those things. He is so good! 2. How are you still waiting? Imagine Jesus at work in that thing or person. Is there a specific image or vision that comes to mind. Either way, pray for that person or thing, believing that God is already at work and promises to bring renewal. 3. Share with someone today one way the death and resurrection of Jesus has been real to you in your life? Also, share one way you need the death and resurrection of Jesus to be at work in someone or something in your life? #StPeteUnderground #stpetersburg #stpete #dtsp #stpetersburgflorida #pinellas #tarpon #clearwater #godskingdom #dunedin #trinity #pinellaspark #seminole #undergroundchurch #network #movement #churchmovement #community #undergroundnetwork #jesus #family #healing #nonprofit #encounter #jesuswept #lovedbyjesus #beingledbyholyspirit #holyspirit #holyweek #Easter #blog #reflections #microchurches #resource #EasterSunday #ResurrectionSunday