Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘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. - Luke 24:1-8
After Jesus died, His disciples were perplexed, frightened, and devastated. They thought they were alone, that the One whom their hearts had so burned for had been destroyed and could not save them as they had hoped. In their minds and hearts, all hope was lost.
Someone who I knew in high school just died last night from a drug overdose. Crazed gunmen are shooting up schools, bomb makers and terrorists driving fear into people’s hearts. I’ve heard stories from people recently who are going through tragedy upon tragedy. Times are tough for many of us right now. It can definitely feel at times that all hope is lost for us, too. (Right?)
The women who loved Jesus went to His tomb to honor His memory. What they expected to find was a lifeless body, confirming what they already knew. It was too late, and He was gone. They never could have dreamed what awaited them there. The huge stone rolled away, two shining angels, and the body of Jesus gone. Even though Jesus tried to tell His followers what He was going to do, they didn’t get it. This was the last thing that they expected.
Instead of losing, Jesus won on the cross. He won our freedom, He secured the victory over our sin and shame. And He didn’t stop there. He conquered death three days later. He proved that He has power even over death itself. (See 1 Corinthians 15:20-26.) It was not a time of ultimate loss, but ultimate victory through the pain. But these ladies didn’t get it, and they mourned. The sting of His death was still so real to them. They couldn’t fathom Life rising from those ashes. But the reality is, Jesus was not in that Tomb. He was risen. They looked for a dead Savior in a tomb of failure. (They just didn’t understand yet that the “end” of the story was actually just the beginning.)
Sometimes we can identify, can’t we? At times it seems like things are too terrible, too heartbreaking, that there’s just no hope. We mourn, but sometimes we keep on mourning. We find ourselves stuck in a graveyard mourning our losses. It is good to grieve, but it is important as well to find our way out of that. We don’t live there; so Why do we look for the living among the dead? Jesus is still alive. He is still more powerful than even death itself. That same power is available to us today and lives within all of us who are born again of the Spirit of God.
When the angels appeared to the women, they reminded them of what Jesus said. After that, it says: “And they remembered His Words.” What their grief had caused them to forget, God graciously reminded them of. They remembered His Words, and they remembered that there was much to hope for. Today, and especially on this weekend when we celebrate our God conquering death, I encourage you to do the same.
If you are feeling like all hope is lost- Remember His Words. He said:
I will never leave or forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
I came to give you abundant life. (John 10:10)
I will awaken the dead at the sound of my voice. (John 5:24-25)
I will wipe every tear from your eyes. (Revelation 21:4)
I am the Resurrection and the Life. Though you die, yet you will live. ((John 11:25-26)
I make all things new. (Revelation 21:5)
God did not condemn those early disciples for not understanding, but He sent word to them that there was still hope, and that their greatest dreams had come true. He was the One who would set them free. He had not been defeated. He was their Victor!
There is still hope for you today, because Jesus not only took your sin and shame, but He conquered death itself. Feel sorrow when you need to, but don’t let the pains and trials of this life leave you hopeless. There is MUCH to hope for, and everything to look forward to. Our Risen King has secured everything for us. He is our Victor, right now, in whatever battle we face!
New Life is here for us afresh today. We may not understand what He is doing, but we can turn to Him and remember what He has said and what He has already done.
Hope is not lost. His power prevails, and His love leads us on.
We can never dream what lies ahead for us.. but we can definitely catch tiny glimpses as we tune our attention in to His Word!
What other things has God spoken to you, through His Word or another believer, that have reminded you to hope? I would love to hear about them below!