1 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.
Jesus, where were You disciples? They were hiding and afraid. Out of great love for You these women were willing to risk confronting the guards and the stone and the grave. They loved You enough to risk their lives to care for Your grossly disfigured corpse. And because the were willing to lose their lives to be with You at Your worst they were the first to discover You alive and at Your best.
Jesus, help me to seek You out among the poor and the dirty and the dying and imprisoned. Help me to find You in the worst around me, so I may find You at Your best.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
Jesus, you truly are alive! It is so awesome. Alive, forever. This moment makes all the difference. Be alive in me. Roll away the stone that keeps You in the tombs of my life. Throw aside the guards I have placed to keep You hidden away where no one can see Your life in me. Explode to life in every moment of my day. Change me Jesus. Be alive in me forever!
8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
Jesus, these women have just seen fainted Roman guards, angels, an earthquake, and a dead man alive…and You command them “don’t be afraid”! But You are the great equalizer. If You are alive, what should I ever fear? Worry and fear do not give You glory. Holy Spirit, help me to obey my Lord and fear not so I may give him glory.
The Report of the Guard
11 As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12 A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13 They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14 If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15 So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
Jesus, even when presented with the testimony of Roman guards, the chief priest and scribes do not believe in You. They blindly chose their own power over faith in the living God. Please Lord, keep me and my family from ever being this stubborn and blind. Help us to follow the truth – You – even if it isn’t what we planned and what will keep us powerful. Open my mind and heart and ears. Change me Lord.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus, You command me to make disciples. I sure don’t feel like I’ve lead anyone to You, or like I ever could. But I am Yours Lord. If You can use, and You want to use me, I am here. But keep changing me Lord, so maybe some day someone will see a little of You in me.
This Gospel ends with such a wonderful promise: You are always here. Help me to truly live like I am in Your presence. Help me to turn to You so much more during my day to day life. You are here and alive!