It was early in the morning. The disciples were faced with another day of discouragement and confusion. Three days before, their leader, their Messiah, their Savior was murdered–crucified on a cross. And for what? What was his crime? Love. His message was a message of love and hope.
For three years, his friends followed him, listened to him, served him. They savored his every word. Though they did not fully understand him at times, they loved him. They followed him from city to city as he shared his message of love to the people. Not only did he preach, but he lived out what he preached. Bodies were healed. Questions were answered. Minds were renewed. Hope was restored.
Now, he was dead. Their hope was nailed to a cross. Their dreams, shattered.
When they awoke that morning, I’m sure the disciples’ hearts were crushed with discouragement, filled with sorrow and covered with confusion. Fear had surely set in. After all, they had been seen with this Jesus of Nazareth. Surely, the Romans soldiers would come for them next. Would they be ridiculed, mocked and shamed? Would they be crucified as their leader was?
The women who followed Jesus were on their way to the tomb early that morning. When they arrived, the stone that covered the tomb had been rolled away. And the body of Jesus was gone, missing. As they looked around, two angels appeared and said, “Why are you looking in a tomb for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He has risen from the dead!” (Luke 24:5b-6a).
The women, full of excitement, ran back to where the disciples were staying and told them of what they had seen, but the story sounded like nonsense, so they didn’t believe it (vs. 10b, 11). It’s amazing what fear can do to our minds.
Peter ran back to see the empty tomb. Can you imagine the struggle within his mind? “Could it be true? Did he really rise from the dead? No, it can’t be true. No one has ever done that. But, maybe it’s true.” Round and round his mind went.
Later, Jesus appeared to all of them. It was true! He was alive! He had risen from the dead, just as he said he would. Then he opened their minds to understand these many Scriptures. And he said, “Yes, it was written long ago that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise again from the dead on the third day. With my authority, take this message of repentance to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to me‘” (vs. 24-26).
Today, I want to share a message of hope: there is forgiveness of sins for all who turn to Jesus. No matter what you have done, he can forgive you. No matter how bad you have fallen, he can pick you up. No matter how much you fear, he can open your minds to peace.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, you died on the cross and rose on the third day, just as you said you would. You did this to give me eternal life, and to make a way for me to come to the Father. I turn from my evil ways of living, and I give you my life. I give you my fears. I give you my sin. I trust you to take care of me. When I become overwhelmed with the things of this world, I will trust you. When I get fearful, I will stand in the courage of faith, knowing that no matter what happens, you will always be with me. Thank you Jesus for giving me life. I ask these things in your name. Amen.