Sadness, Surprise, Joy
Reading: Luke 24:1-12
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” And they remembered His words, and returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. But these words appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened. [NASB1995®]
In the story that we are reading today, it is edifying to read how the women who visit the tomb experience the miracle of the resurrection.
Sorrow: The women carry in their hands the aromatic spices they have acquired to honor the body of the Lord. They go to a tomb, prepared to encounter a dead body. As we said in our previous reading, it is precious to see how they show their love for Jesus Christ, how they do not fear the potential consequences. And yet they cry, because they believe Jesus is dead.
Surprise: When they reach the tomb, the stone that covered the entrance had been moved, and the body of the Lord was not there. What happened? The translation we read (NASB) uses the word perplexed to describe the status of these women. They are full of questions. And then, suddenly, surprisingly, there are two men of shining garments, two angels of the Lord, next to them.
The angels’ question is not intended to challenge them. “Why do you seek among the dead one who is living?” They want to make them remember. Is this not what the Lord announced as necessary? His surrender, his crucifixion, his victory.
Joy: Then women remember, and they understand. Their hearts turn from sadness to joy- so much joy that they return to the rest of the disciples to announce what has happened. What had begun as a day full of pain became a day full of joy. That is the effect of Christ’s victory on the cross, on these women, and on us. Absolute and overwhelming joy.
Perhaps it’s worth mentioning the detail that Luke points out. The disciples do not believe in what the women say. It’s hard for them to believe it, even after having seen the Lord resurrect others. But Peter decides to go to the grave. In his heart there is still sadness for denying Jesus. Will he receive another opportunity?
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead is for us a cause for joy. It is His victory over sin and death. It is the guarantee of His promise. All who believe in Him shall not die (John 11:25-26). Jesus is resurrection and life. Jesus changes our mourning into dancing (Psalm 30:11).
MEDITATE: What does it produce in us to know that the Lord is sovereign even over death? How do we live out His promise of abundant life in us?
Scripture quotation taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Translation By: Emily Stader