Author: Steve Quen, Senior Pastor, Bay Area Bible Church, San Leandro
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” 8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. (Matthew 28:1-8, NIV)
These past few months have left four of our church families in shock and mourning and four others in great joy. Four church families have had a parent suddenly pass away. One family had a joyful Christmas eve dinner only to have the loved one in ICU on Christmas day and then go home with the Lord the next day. In another family, the loved one had just seen the doctor in early December and was told the loved one was in better health that ever, only to have them go to be with the Lord before Christmas. Yet during this same time frame it has also been a time of great joy, with at four families having newborns. New life has brought hope and happiness to these families. Our church family has experienced this mix of sudden death bringing sadness and new life bringing joy.
This passage is about that first Easter Sunday; the disciples were in shock, sadness and had lost all hope because of the sudden and cruel death of their leader and friend, Jesus. Yet as two of them approached the tomb, they heard the words from an angel, “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said”, not just words of hope, but the description of that which never had happened in the world, the Son of God, the Son of Man would die, but come back to life never to die. This event, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, would change their mourning into joy, and this same joy and hope is available for us today, whether the testing we face is the death of a loved one or whatever test we experience in this life, because as the angel said “He has risen from the dead.”
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior