I’m Going IN!
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple,who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
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BlogFam, I have heard grieving relatives mention their desire to want to be buried with their deceased loved ones. They were so overcome with grief that the idea of being buried with their relative on the day of their final goodbye seemed to be the thing to do. I realize that this expression comes from a deep place of hurt, pain, loss, and the sad realization that their loved one is not coming back. Thus, their desire to get into the grave with them is a way to never be apart from them.
I cannot imagine such grief and I do not pretend to completely understand. However, as much as that thought might seem like the best thing to alleviate their pain in that moment, I do not actually know anyone who has said that and then actually jumped in the coffin or jumped in the grave on top of the coffin in order to do what they say they feel like doing. I do not know anyone – except in one movie I watched on television – who has followed through on their expression. For some reason, possibly way deep down inside, they know that while all life has seemed to stop because the life of the one they loved has ended, life will go on – one day at a time even if the hours seem longer and the passing of each second more profound because the one they love is no longer here.
I’m Going IN!
There are so many things we say, things we want to do, places we want to go when we are faced with situations beyond our control – like death. This is not a very comfortable feeling and we often respond out of our emotions by saying, doing, and going because we want to escape what we are feeling in the moment and what we will inevitably face in the morning. Our loved one is still not here. Thus, I can only imagine how Mary Magdalene, Peter, and the other disciple felt when they came to this empty tomb. Mary got there first and she only peeked in. She ran to tell Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved that “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,and we don’t know where they have put him!” I know that she was not in a calm and composed state when these words were spoken. Everybody knew how much she loved Jesus and the two disciples ran to see for themselves.
The other disciple beat Peter there but did not go in. Peter, on the other hand,thought – I’m GOING IN! I’m Going IN to see if Jesus is still here. I’m going IN because I have questions about whether the political authorities did or did not steal His body. I need to know if His words were true – that He would rise again. I’m Going IN. Peter walked right into the place where they buried Jesus and He saw for himself that Jesus was not there.
When we experience the death of a loved one today, we expect that our loved one’s grave will be right where it was the first time and every other time we visit. We do not expect to see that it has been tampered with or trampled over and if we were to dig up the remains, we would expect some evidence – surely decomposed evidence –that their body was there. Mary, Peter, and the other disciple expected to find evidence of Jesus body in that tomb. They expected more than linen on the ground. Peter went in and then after Peter went in, the other disciple went in and the scripture says of this other disciple – HE SAW AND BELIEVED.
Friends, how much more evidence do you need to go in to see for you to believe that Jesus really is who He says He is? Just like when we lose our loved ones, we are presented with evidence of their passing and we follow through on certain rituals in order to convey our understanding that they are not coming back to us in this life. Some of us might feel like going in to the grave with them but for some reason, the evidence of their death has also reminded you of your own life. In God’s wisdom and divine plan which we may not understand, God’s hand kept us from going in to that grave as painful as it was, is, and continues to be to wake up knowing they are gone. There is only ONE person whose evidence of their own life can still remind us of our NEW life when we go in to be with Him.
The linen that Mary, Peter and the other disciple saw was evidence that Jesus was alive. Jesus left behind remnants that would prove that He was alive. He was alive and at this point in the text, the only person whom we know believed was the other disciple, the one He loved. Jesus is gracious enough to allow us moments to go in to dark places so that we can see for ourselves that He is alive! Jesus will even leave just enough evidence for us to see in order to show us that He is no longer in the place where we thought He was. When we do not believe that His life is an available source of life for us all, He will show us in unique ways that He is Life and He has come that we might have life, and have life more abundantly.
My sistas and brothas, maybe you need to go to THAT place one last time just to KNOW that Jesus is alive! Maybe you have been grieving over the passing of a loved one or stressing over the next step in your life or worrying about how this next thing is going to work out and on today you simply need to be reminded that JESUS IS ALIVE! And because Jesus is alive, you have another opportunity to go in to His presence and ask Him for whatever it is that you need for you to move on! This is the HOPE of our passage on today. We have evidence – just look around – we have evidence that Jesus is ALIVE! We can believe this and when we go into His presence He will meet us there but when we go into places where He no longer resides, there will be evidence that He is not there. Jesus will make His presence known unto us by giving us signs of life, NEW life, ABUNDANT life and for that we must all be so grateful!
So, BlogFam, go on in and look for the evidence – for by faith you WILL find that JESUS IS ALIVE! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
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