See the story of Jesus’ resurrection in Matthew 28.
When Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered sin and death. Mary Magdalene and another Mary were the first to see the empty tomb and the risen Savior.
What the Resurrection Proved
Jesus’ resurrection proved that what He had taught was correct. He used His ultimate authority when He gave the Great Commission but showed His unlimited power by promising to be with His followers forever.
The Marys Didn’t Quit
Mary and Mary knew a task had to be done – Jesus’ body had to be prepared for burial. Peter didn’t offer to do it. Andrew didn’t volunteer. The forgiven adulteress or healed lepers are nowhere to be seen. So the two Marys decide to do it.
I wonder if halfway to the tomb they had sat down and reconsidered. What if they’d looked at each other and shrugged, “What’s the use?” What if they had given up? What if one had thrown up her arms in frustration and bemoaned, “I’m tired of being the only one who cares. Let Andrew do something for a change. Let Nathanael show some leadership”?
Whether or not they were tempted to, I’m glad they didn’t quit. That would have been tragic. You see, we know something they didn’t. We know the FAther was watching. Mary and Mary thought they were alone. They weren’t. They thought their journey was unnoticed. They were wrong. God knew. He was watching them walk up the mountain. He was measuring their steps. He was smiling at their hearts and thrilled at their devotion. And He had a surprise waiting for them.
The Stone Was Rolled Away
Why did the angel move the stone away? For whom did He roll away the rock?
For Jesus? That’s what I always thought. I just assumed that the angel moved the stone so Jesus could come out. But think about it. Did the stone have to be removed in order for Jesus to exit? Did God have to have help? Was the death conqueror so weak that He couldn’t push away a rock?
I don’t think so. The text gives the impression that Jesus was already out when the was moved! Nowhere do the Gospels say that the angel moved the stone for Him. For whom, then was the stone moved?
God Invites Us Into the Resurrection
Listen to what the angel says: “Come and see the place where He lay” (Matthew 28:6).
The stone was moved – not for Jesus – but for the women; not so Jesus could come out, but so the women could see in!
“Go quickly and tell His disciples: ‘He has risen from he dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him” (Matthew 28:7).
Mary and Mary don’t have to be told twice. They turn and start running to Jerusalem. The darkness is gone. The sun is up. The Son is out. But the Son isn’t finished.
One surprise still awaits them.
Easter Isn’t the End
So the women hurried away from the tomb,…and ran to tell His disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘ Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'” (Matthew 28:8-10)
The God of surprises strikes again. It’s as if He said, “I can’t wait any longer. They came this far to see me; I’m going to drop in on them.”
God does that for the faithful. Just when the womb gets too old for babies, Sarai gets pregnant. Just when the failure is too great for grace, David is pardoned. And just when the road is too dark for Mary and Mary, the angel glows and the Savior shows, and the two women will never be the same.
God Still Moves Stones
The lesson? Three words. Don’t give up.
Is the trail dark? Don’t sit.
Is the road long? Don’t stop.
Is the night black? Don’t quit.
God is watching. For all you know right at this moment, He may be telling the angel to move the stone.
The check may be in the mail.
The apology may be in the making.
The job contract may be on the desk.
Don’t quit. For if you do, you may miss the answer to your prayers.
God still sends angels and God still moves stones.
1 reply on “Easter and the God of Surprises”
This is good for me