It was one of the most dramatic moments in human history. Matthew chapter 28 presents us with the picture as Mary Magdalene entered the garden with burial spices in her hand to visit the tomb of Jesus, her teacher, Savior and friend…the One who had freed her from demon possession and given her new life. Mary came while it was still dark outside. She came to do the last thing she could do for the one who had done everything for her. She had watched as Jesus suffered on the cross…and then those words, “It is finished!”
How did Mary hear those words? Did she hear them as a cry of victory or the final acceptance of a mission that had gone terribly wrong? Mary knew the Master, but she didn’t know the Master plan.
We’ve all been there. We’ve watched dreams die and doors slam closed and we’ve wondered, What went wrong?
How her heart must have been breaking with each step she took toward the tomb that morning! When Mary got there someone had rolled the stone away. She didn’t understand what was happening but she stayed, as people of faith do, even with tears rolling down our faces because we just don’t understand. We stay. Yet, when she arrived she found nothing was as she expected at all. Instead of the lifeless body of Jesus, she found an empty tomb guarded by an angel! This angel had amazing news for Mary. “He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:6, ESV).
And what a gift she was given on that resurrection morning! As she turned her tear-stained face from the angels to the shadow standing in the entrance to the tomb she heard His voice, “Mary!” One woman was given the gift of being the first to see our Savior, alive, risen from the dead!
And the questions He asked Mary, He asks us, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” (John 20:15). No matter how many dreams die or doors close, He is alive! He is risen!
It was the news that changed everything for Mary. She walked toward the tomb grief-stricken, her heart shattered. Matthew 28:8 tells us she ran away with great joy.
The risen Christ changes everything.
It was true for Mary Magdalene 2,000 years ago and it is just as powerful and true for us today. You see, without resurrection morning, there is no hope for any of us. When Christ rose to life on the third day, He broke the curse of death that had hung over all of creation since sin entered the garden. In doing so, He opened the gate of life for all of us. Because Christ was raised, we too will one day rise again. Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Because Jesus lives, we will live too!
What is more, Paul goes on to say in Ephesians chapter one that the very same “incomparably great power” that God used to raise Jesus from the dead is available to us for our lives today. Because of Jesus’ resurrecting power, we are empowered to live our lives free of the crippling sin that brings brokenness and death into our relationships and the way we live our lives.
Yes, the risen Christ changes everything. No wonder Mary ran from the tomb with great joy!
When you are living in the pain of Good Friday never forget that Sunday is coming! It’s only on Sunday that Friday makes sense. If you are living in a Friday place right now, hold on. Because of Jesus, Sunday is promised to every one of us.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!