John 20:1-2, NIV
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’”
The disciples had heard Jesus say many wonderful things. They had learned to trust what He said, even when they didn’t fully understand what he was saying. They’d heard the teaching, watched the miracles, seen the healings, experienced the deliverances, and now they were on their way to Jerusalem. What was going to happen next? This man was the real thing! But when He told them what was going to happen to Him, they didn’t want to believe that this bit of what Jesus had said was also going to be true!
There must have been great apprehension in their hearts as they approached the city. Surely He wasn’t really going to die? Especially as, at first, the people had waved him into the city, like a returning hero. But then the mood had changed. The Pharisees stirred up the people, Barabbas had been released and the cycle of events which confirmed their worst fears inexorably proceeded towards that terrible death on a cross, rushed through by the authorities to beat the failing light, as the Sabbath dusk closed in on them.
Jesus had died. He had gone from them. Confusion, distress, pain, loss, disappointment, grief, failure, hopelessness, even despair – all these emotions and many more will have been swimming round their agonised minds as they thought about their beloved Jesus lying in a borrowed tomb, behind a giant stone and guarded by Roman soldiers. Sleep would not have been easy for them as, no doubt, they went over and over and over again everything they could remember about what Jesus had said was going to happen. They were facing the unknown.
What had gone so terribly wrong? They had hit the wall and Jesus was no longer there to help them pick up the pieces of their lives. They had no-one to go to and the wonderful three year journey of faith was over. It must have been a very disturbed bunch of disillusioned followers who waited on Sunday morning to hear how the women had gone on, when they went to anoint his body.
And first reports were not good – in spite of being guarded by soldiers, someone appeared to have stolen the body! But this first report was not the whole story! The body was no longer there for a very different reason. It had definitely not been stolen!
The unknown they were facing was about to be totally transformed by the amazing truth – not only that Jesus had died, but He was alive again. When it looked as though all had been lost, they discovered that every word of what Jesus had said was true. Not only was it was the beginning of a new era in all their lives, it was the beginning of a new era in the history of the world!
If you are facing the unknown on this Easter Sunday, not sure about what life has for you just now, may I encourage you to remember that Jesus CAN be trusted. His words ARE true and that you can face the unknown with Him. The message of Easter Sunday morning is not just the record of a historical fact, it is the greatest encouragement to trust Him there ever can be.
Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for your willing obedience to serve all of mankind through Your death on the cross. Thank You, Father God, for raising Jesus from the dead. And thank You, Lord, that I can face the unknowns in my own life with confidence, because I am not alone with Jesus in my heart. In His Name, Amen.