Jesus has left the building

After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God’s angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn’t move. The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed. “Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.” The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb.–One of the resurrection stories, as told by Matthew, interpreted by Eugene Peterson.

It is a sad truth that I tend to live in a tomb. There, in the damp darkness, encircled by death, I linger. My entombed thoughts are condemning, offering little grace to myself or those around me. My entombed thoughts are cynical, always expecting the worst.  My entombed thoughts are bitter, tallying up the sins and demons others have cast against me. My entombed thoughts are anxious, finding little security in God’s plan. My entombed thoughts are self-seeking, turning my attention away from Him…and you.

And today, I can’t help but hear the message inherent in the resurrection story: get out of the tomb. If God’s greatest good for me was to be caught in a web of cavernous toxic thoughts, Jesus never would have left the tomb. In His story, the tomb meant judgment, brokenness, guilt, weight. But by rolling the stone away, vacating the premises, and imprinting footsteps towards life away from death, His story calls for action in my own story: get out of the tomb.

 “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.”–An angel, according to Luke