The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” Matthew 28:5-6
In full transparency, I’m one of those people. You know the type. I often misplace my keys, cell phone, the important paper I was just reading, you name it. It’s frustrating. Fortunately, I haven’t lost anything truly important, like a car - yet.
Humor aside, can you imagine how those women felt when they approached the tomb only to find Jesus’ body wasn't there? The absolute last thing they would have been expecting was to find it empty. After all, he hadn’t been misplaced. No one had moved him in the middle of the night. He simply wasn’t there. Vanished without a trace. I’m sure that was a lot to take in.
The angel's message that morning is one of the most challenging messages in all of Christendom. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.” It requires us to grapple with the words Jesus spoke during his life in ministry. And, it requires us to grapple with what they might mean for us now - beyond Easter Sunday. I wonder if that isn’t the most important grappling of them all. The wrestling of our faith in the everyday experiences of our lives.
If we are honest, there are a lot of places we go expecting to find Jesus (or at least traces of faith’s assurance) only to be met with silence. Sometimes that’s in the hospital. We expect to find him there. Sometimes that’s in the search for a new job or a difficult relationship. Perhaps it’s even in church. Yet, it often seems as though he is gone. Vanished without a trace. It’s easy in these moments to turn from our circumstances and say “well, that’s just the way it is”. To accept things as they are and to write off any notion of finding Jesus in them at all.
Today, I want to challenge you in much the same way those women were challenged that morning. To look beyond the presenting circumstance and remember Jesus’ words. Remember what he said. Things like:
- “My purpose is to give [them] a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10b NLT
- “Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” John 15:15b-16 NLT
- “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.” John 6:47 NLT
- “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b NLT
Unlike the search for my car keys, Jesus is inviting us to search for him. To plumb the depths of scripture when circumstance won’t reveal his whereabouts. There, we will find him. This is a promise you can hold on to. It isn’t mine, it is God’s. After all, he said: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord, ‘and will bring you back from captivity.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14 NIV)
Join me in worship,