40 Bible Stories Devotional, #33

He Finds Us At The Tomb

(From John 20:11-18)Harold_Copping_Mary_Magadalene_and_Risen_Christ_400

One of his own betrayed Him.  In the cover of darkness, they arrested Him.  Lies were the evidence as they shouted, “Crucify Him.”  But He had loved her.  Very few if any had loved her.  She had been discarded, used, and thrown out with the trash by most people, but not Him.  He was gentle and sincere.  He loved her, healed her, restored her and renewed her hope.  She was dead and He brought her back to life.

To watch as they brought him out bloodied from the Roman fists and twisted thorns overwhelmed her.  As blood flowed down his face, tears flowed down hers. She was still in shock at what was happening when they tied him to the post and whipped him until His flesh ripped.  With every lash of the whip, part of her died.  She stood there with His mother and John helpless and empty watching the One who had saved her die.

As they removed his body, in a strange way there was relief.  Finally, the horror was finished.  Jesus was dead.  Filled with overflowing sadness, at least she knew He could not be hurt anymore.  “At least,” she thought, “it’s over.” They laid him in the tomb.  Passover was meaningless.  How could she celebrate when her Lord had been killed? How would she go on?  He was her life and now He was gone.  He was her breath and now she was suffocating in darkness.  She wished she had done more for Him.  She wished she had spoken up as they lied.  She wished she would have run to Him as they whipped His body.  She resolved herself to use every day for the rest of her life to honor this man who loved her.

Early in the morning, she went to anoint his body.  He had honored her in life and she was determined to honor Him in death.  But when she arrived, the stone had been removed.  The body had been stolen.  The nightmare was not over.  They had taken His dignity in life and now they sought to steal His dignity in death by denying Him a proper burial.  Not knowing what to do, she ran to the disciples and they ran back with her to the tomb.  They all stood there looking at the folded cloth and strips of linen that had covered his wounds.  His body was gone.  What had they done?  Had His body been drug out to where the wild animals could feast?  This was the greatest offense against the dead.

Bewildered and dejected, the disciples went back to their homes, but she could not leave.  After all they had done to Him, and now, they have even stolen His body.  She lifted her eyes and was taken back by what she saw.  Two angels appeared and then Jesus Himself appeared risen from the dead.  Disbelief and exceeding joy ran through her all at once.  They asked her, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

Have you ever wondered why the Lord lets us go through so much before He shows up?  Of course, I understand from the theological viewpoint that Christ had to die to cover the sins of the world, but when I see the death He allows to flood my life at times, I wonder why He waits so long to arrive.  It seems that we are often left weeping searching for life surrounded by death.

Romans 8:17

Now if we are children, then we are heirs –heirs of God and co- heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (NIV1984)

I love this Scripture but the last part hits me hard.  I share in His sufferings in order that… In order that! In order that we may also share in His glory.  In other words without suffering, we will not know glory.  It is dark that reveals the glory of the light.  It is absence of God that reveals the glory of His presence.  It is the depths of pain that reveal the power of His power to heal.  Without suffering through the wretchedness of this life, I will never fully grasp the wonders of His love.  It is my chaos that creates desperation in me to take hold of the Prince of Peace.  He finds us in the tombs, searching for life, surrounded by death.  But it is here that we remember that He was dead, but now He lives.  The next time you are surrounded by death, wait for Him.  His angels will soon appear and He will call your name.

Pastor Lee is the Lead Pastor at CrossRoads Community Church in San Antonio, Texas. His message focuses on the healing power of Scripture through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the Father of three awesome sons and he is madly in love with his wife, Amy. And his favorite past time is losing golf balls in the rough while attempting to play a round of golf.

Posted in 40 Bible Stories Devotion, Hardships, Miracles, Spiritual Growth, Waiting on the Lord Tagged with: , , , , ,

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