From time to time, my wife and I like to rise before dawn on Easter morning and watch the sun rise. It gives great meaning to the story of the day as we read the Scriptures and pray, reflecting on the new life made possible through the resurrection.
On the first day of the week, the women rose early and walked to the tomb. Heaviness was in their hearts, sorrow was in their steps, and mourning was on their minds. With spices in hand, they went to the tomb expecting to complete the burial rituals that were left undone late Friday afternoon.
Often in the Bible, dawn or early morning is the time God uses to make new revelations. That’s when the Lord often surprises his people. The women that morning were surprised with three startling things.
They found the stone had been rolled away. They expected the stone barrier to be in place. In fact, in Mark’s gospel they anticipated that the stone would still be there. (Mark 16:3)
They also expected to find a body but instead discovered the tomb was empty. They knew Jesus was dead, but now nothing is the way it was supposed to be. The stone is moved and the tomb is empty. Fear? Anger? Confusion?
They suspected grave robbers, not the grave robbed.
Finally, they discovered two men from another world. The women were now frightened by this majestic visitation.
Of all of the possible questions that raced through their minds, one rose to the top: “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?” (24:5) That question reorients and redirects everything.
This direct question brings a revolution in the way we view and think of life and all existence in four ways:
1. It Redirects us from Death to Life
All life apart from the resurrection is really a slow death. So many people live to die, while some are dying to live. But the resurrection means you live to live. We don’t visit tombs to meet God. Life is not found among the dead!
2. It Redirects us from the Cross to the Resurrection
We love the cross. But there’s something beyond the cross that gives the cross its glory. While we love the cross, it is incomplete without the resurrection. The resurrection adds triumph to tragedy.
3. It Redirects us from Feelings to Facts (24:6-7)
There is a lot of emotion expressed by the women, yet the angelic beings point them to the truth of Scripture with one powerful word: remember!
4. It Redirects us from Imitations to Invitation (John 10:10)
In Ecclesiastes, Solomon describes all of the avenues he explored to find meaning in life, including education, pleasure, career, political power, wealth, and relationships. Through all of those pursuits he, in the words of U2, “still couldn’t find what he was looking for.” Each avenue overpromised and under delivered.
Jesus said, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that you may have life and have it more abundantly!” (John 10:10) Jesus’ promise of life is still extended today. He invites you to come to him to find life, hope and rest.