“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:16-17
“And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” Romans 8:11
“God doesn’t sweep the broken up into a dustpan and discard it. In order to reach the broken in our world, God Himself broke, allowing His own Son to die a broken death on a cross for us. God brings beauty in the broken. God loves the broken. God uses the broken.”– Elisa Morgan
“We can trust that our Painter is exposing us, lifting us onto His brush, placing us in the intense pressure between the bristles and the canvas for something more beautiful that we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).” – Becky Elie
“Your Heavenly Daddy loves to be with you. Not because you are doing anything for Him, but simply because you are His.” – Renee Swope
“Stop every now and then. Just stop and enjoy. Take a deep breath. Relax and take in the abundance of life.” ~ Anonymous ~
Thank you to my brother John for these stunning photos. 🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂
“But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.” Acts 2:24 NLT
Their hearts heave with unshed tears and their heads hang with grief, but their feet trudge on with purpose. Their Master is dead. Their hopes and joys are shattered and buried with Him. But they will still remember the love this Man gave to them.
These women of courage head for the tomb. Their spices and their tears will mingle together to anoint the body, to slow down the decay of their precious Jesus, the one they thought would save them. But now? A dead one can’t deliver them from their enemies.
“Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” they cry. The stone, like their despair, is far too heavy for these women to move. And besides, how will they ever get past the guards? Impossibilities loom ahead of them, but they can’t stop. The love of Jesus draws them on like bees to honey. Their hearts still cry out to Him in desperation.
Their heads bowed, they are intent on reaching the grave. Then they look up… What?!
“Looking up, they saw that
the stone had been rolled away,
although it was extremely large.”
Mark 16:4 NASB
The stone is already rolled away! And no guards. They enter the tomb and see a young man dressed in a sweeping robe as white as snow. Terror and confusion attack their already troubled hearts as they tremble at the sight of this angel whose appearance is like lightning.
“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 NASB
Their eyes round with wonder, they remember the words Jesus had spoken – that He would be crucified but would rise again the third day. Afraid, yet filled with joy, they hurry to tell the disciples the best news anyone could ever tell. JESUS IS ALIVE!
Sometimes we believe this great news in our heads, but we can’t seem to grasp it fully in our hearts. It may feel like Jesus is still dead. Like our hopes and joys are still buried in that tomb. Like our hearts are so downcast that we cannot even see the stone is already rolled away.
Troubles may threaten to crush and smother us, but there is still hope. Why?
HE IS RISEN! He is still alive. Today. Forever. He was crucified, but He is glorified. For each of us. Our hopes and joys are not in that tomb but alive in Him. He conquered death and hell and left our sins in the tomb. Because He lives, sin’s power is broken. Because He lives, no enemy will triumph over us. Because He lives, nothing and no one can separate us from His love.
Precious Jesus, Like these women Your love draws us. We cannot live without You.
Sometimes our hearts are so heavy; We cannot feel You really are alive. Please shed the blinding gloom from our eyes That we may truly see You have already removed the stone And You truly are alive Yesterday, today, and forever.
Death could not hold You. Hell could not keep You. The sins of this whole world Could not destroy You.
O please, Lord, Dispel the darkness in our hearts With Your everlasting light. Shatter the despair we are buried in And fill us with the joy You gave those women at the tomb. Joy so full and free That it spills out to others.
When depression saps the life from us, Fill us with Your life. May our hearts leap with joy Because You are alive And here with us Always and forever.
No matter what we go through You hold our hand. Even when it’s dark Even when we can’t feel You You are alive Beside us Within us.
“Then, following him, Simon Peter came also. He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there. The wrapping that had been on His head was not lying with the linen cloths but was folded up in a separate place by itself.” John 20:6-7
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him.” Peter and John hear the weeping words of Mary Magdalene, and they rush to the tomb. Arriving first, John bends over and peers in. When Peter appears, he immediately enters the tomb, followed by John. Strips of linen, possibly still caked with scabs and spices, lie there. But where is the body of Jesus? And what’s this? The cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head is laid by itself. Not merely tossed aside, but neatly folded up.
John and Peter must have known the custom of some carpenters in first century Palestine. A carpenter carried a sweat cloth to wipe his face as he worked. To show a job was completed, an illiterate carpenter folded up the cloth and left it on or near his work, indicating to the one who hired him, “My work is finished.”
After Jesus said “It is finished” and gave up His spirit, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lovingly took down Jesus’ disfigured body from the cross, a body that was “marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14) They gave Jesus a decent burial, washing his body and wrapping it in strips of linen with 75 pounds of spices, an amount used in royal burials. As was the Jewish custom, they wrapped his face with a cloth and laid Him in a new tomb.
Yet now here is an empty tomb except for grave-clothes and a neatly folded cloth. A robber would never have left order behind. If someone had stolen Jesus’ body, the grave-clothes would most likely be gone with it.
“The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” Why? Commentator Matthew Henry believed Jesus is sending us a message: “No one stole Me away. On the contrary, I rose up alone. I walked out alone. I alone did this, for I alone could do it. I am Almighty God.”
As John and Peter gazed at the folded cloth, did Jesus’ words about the work He must do flood back into their souls? Did they remember how Jesus promised that after three days He would rise again?
According to John 20:19, we know they were afraid. The disciples had locked the doors because of their fear of the Jewish leaders. But then Jesus Himself in the flesh suddenly stood among them and breathed “Peace be with you!” Peace that bursts their hearts with joy!
Jesus has finished what He came to do – to die in our place to redeem us from sin and death, and He has risen again just as He promised. We don’t need to look for him among the dead. He is risen!
Are we still mourning the death of Jesus, or are we opening the eyes of our hearts to what Jesus has finished for us and to the hope and joy of His glorious resurrection?
“My Redeemer Lives”
by Nicole C. Mullen
P.S. This is an edited version of a post from 5 years ago, before many of you were reading this blog. I hope it will strengthen your heart to know our Redeemer lives. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow and whatever troubles come our way!
We are traveling to a family event this week to attend a special ceremony and to celebrate our son’s retirement from the Air Force after 20 years in the military. I hope to post again on April 3. 🙂
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 2 Thessalonians 3:16