This morning’s devotion comes from Jacob Smith. A reminder that this devotion (and 364 others) will be released at the Spring Conference in the long-awaited Mockingbird Devotional: Good News for Today (and Every Day).
“…Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said…” (ESV)
This is the account of the first Easter morning. However, on this Easter morning there is no linen, no brass instruments, no baked hams or Easter eggs, and no large lilac hats. Instead, the initial tone of the first Easter morning is one of hopelessness and great loss. Surely we can call upon moments defined by those two themes: maybe it was a job loss, the death of a loved one, a romantic split; it may be a season of depression or plans gone sour. Maybe you’re in one of these seasons now. Here we find a tremendous amount of hope in the midst of bleak situations.
Jesus and the angel appear to these two women, and what they say is important. They do not say, “Hey! Buck up! We’re winners!” They do not rebuke their despair, but reassure them, “Do not be afraid.” This is profound—often we believe that our despair is faithlessness, and that faithlessness means God must be angry with us. While we may feel faithless, Jesus tells us not to fear—he has triumphed over the faithless despair that defines our world.
I have wondered what I would have done had I been Jesus coming out of the tomb. I probably would have come back for vengeance: “Ladies, tell those disciples, my so-called friends, I am bringing the heat; after I deal with Rome, and those penny-pinching Pharisees, I am coming to put the hammer down.” Praise God, I am not Jesus, and there is no hammer. Jesus still calls them brothers, and he tells them to meet him at Galilee, where it all started. What a relief, that sometimes, in the midst of sadness and great loss, as opposed to just moving on, it is best to go back to the beginning, whether it be in relationships, careers, or faith. Christianity is a religion of going back to the Galilee of our lives, where we can be continually refreshed by the grace of God, and we can be reminded again and again that we need not be afraid.