ARE YOU GOING TO LEAVE YOUR GRAVE?
Mary sighed. ｡ｧHow will be able to roll that huge stone away?｡ｨ. ｡ｧWell, perhaps the soldiers guarding the tomb will be able to help us.｡ｨ Ventured the other Mary.
Susannah reacted immediately, ｡ｧWhy will they help us? Their job is to make sure that no one tampers with the official seal!｡ｨ They were all on their way to the garden of the tomb, where their Lord Jesus Christ was laid on Friday evening after his crucifixion and death.
Bags straining with fragrant spices, they eagerly scampered into the garden and sought the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, in which their Lord was laid. Running into a gardener in the way, they asked, ｡ｧSir, would you please help us? We want you to open the tomb stone of our master.｡ｨ
The gardener was a tall and well built young man. He fingered his beard as he replied, ｡ｧWell, Jesus was truly a great teacher. I can help you women. But what about the Roman soldiers who are on watch?｡ｨ Pressing a bag full of gold coins into his hand, Salome replied, ｡ｧWill this help?｡ｨ He smiled. ｡ｧPerhaps it will. Let me try.｡ｨ
Minutes ticked away. Stealthily the small group of women worked in the semidarkness of the tomb. The soldiers were busy with the wine and the dice. The gardener was standing guard nearby. Quietly they finished their work and got up. As they melted away from the grave, Mary Magdalene lingered. ｡ｧMary! Mary!｡ｨ Salome called her softly, ｡ｧit is dangerous for us to be here as the day dawns. Let us be away, quick.｡ｨ They stole away from the garden as quickly as they had come.
Meeting the disciples at home, they reported, ｡ｧWe have managed to finish the ritual smearing of spices on our Lord｡ｦs body. The Roman guard is still around. We got a sympathetic gardener to help us.｡ｨ Peter nodded, his thoughts elsewhere. He quietly went out. John noticed this and quickly came out to follow Peter. They trudged their way to the tomb and found the guards asleep in drunken stupor. They had a word with the gardener who was hovering around and quickly slipped away. Their hearts were full of the night of doubts and regrets. ｡ｧWhat was the point of the master｡ｦs vibrant ministry? Such words of life as He spoke, can we ever hear again? What is going to happen to us?｡ｨ cried John, tears streaming across his face. ｡ｧPerhaps we ought to try and follow all His teachings in our lives now｡ｨ said Peter desperately trying to control his own tears.
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Surprized? Well that was just imagination. Perhaps that would have been the scenario had not the Lord been resurrected. But Praise God! The facts are that the women at the tomb had no need of anyone to roll the stone away. It had already been rolled away. They were confronted with an open grave and an empty grave!
The Apostle Paul writes, ｡ｧIf there｡ｦs no resurrection, there｡ｦs no living Christ. And face it ｡V if there｡ｦs no resurrection for Christ, everything we｡ｦve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you｡ｦve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of bare-faced lies about God, all those affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ ｡V sheer fabrications, if there｡ｦs no resurrection.｡ｨ
He continues, ｡ｧIf corpses can｡ｦt be raised, then Christ wasn｡ｦt, because he was indeed dead. And if Christ wasn｡ｦt raised, then all you｡ｦre doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever｡K If all we got out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we｡ｦre a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries.｡ｨ (I Corinthians 15: 12 ｡V 20 : THE MESSAGE: Eugene H Paterson｡ｦs paraphrase)
The Lord is risen ｡V A historical fact. It can remain historical unless we own it up. May the Lord be risen indeed in each of our hearts, dear readers. All of us then can be sure that we will indeed follow Him, out of our graves in glorious resurrection at His second coming!
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