“But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” Now when she had said that, she turned around, and saw Jesus standing there and did not know that it was Jesus.”
When the disciples of Jesus discovered that His body was no longer in the tomb, they were not sure what to do next. While the men (Peter and John) went back to their homes, Mary Magdalene stayed, weeping for her Lord, and longing to know what had happened to Him. When she looked into the tomb one more time, she had a big surprise! She never expected to see angels and to have them speak to her.
As you read this message, expect to hear God’s voice – He wants to be heard!
1) Friend, there may be things that have happened in your life which you regret. You may have looked back many times and wished there could have been a way to rewind into the past and do things differently. Maybe you have unanswered questions about something that happened, and often revisit it in your mind, lingering by the tomb (like Mary), to the thing that is dead and gone. Perhaps you still shed tears about the past, but the Lord is saying to you “Stop! Why are you weeping?” He says to you “No more blame, no more shame”. “You are forgiven, you are released from condemnation. You were forgiven the very first time you asked.” Believe it and receive it today, in Jesus’ name. The past is dead and finished but God has a future for you and it is very bright! Mary was grieving because she thought that all was lost, but there was something mighty about to happen, and today, I declare the same for you, hallelujah!
2) You may have been going through some challenging times and feeling abandoned and alone, but Jesus wants you to know that He has been with you all along. It is He who spoke to you through a sunset or through a baby’s smile, His voice you heard as you read the Word. It was Jesus who reached out to you through the life of a friend or through your pastor or spouse. He was the source of the money you received in the mail, and the joy in your heart. He never left you because He promised He never would. He met you in your dreams. He held your hand through the time of infirmity. He walked with you through the fire and the flood. The love of Jesus and His resurrection power are upon your life, and He is here to stay, whether you see Him or not. He is standing right there beside you now, as you read these words, and He is smiling!
There are many more strands of Truth to draw from these few verses, but we will focus further on them next week. In the meantime, know that God is with you and has you covered. Because the tomb was empty, you and I can have faith for tomorrow, instead of crying about the past. No more weeping – it is a time for joy! It is a time for new beginnings. Abba has awesome plans for you, and is calling you to take His hand from this day forth, and step into the blessed future which He makes possible for you, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen.
Minoli Haththotuwa, 28 April 2014