They were on a mission, had a job to do. They came prepared. But somewhere along the way, on that early Easter morning, the women became preoccupied with an obstacle. It was the stone. What would they do about the stone? Who would roll it back? Perhaps the guards would help. Perhaps the disciples would already be there. What would they do?
When they arrived they found the stone already rolled away, and no guards! We can only imagine their surprise, or how long they stood outside the tomb. Then when they finally entered the tomb their shock was magnified! Jesus was gone. All that remained were stained grave clothes and two young men in dazzling dress, whose words perplexed and amazed the women.
Why are you seeking the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen. Stone rolled away, empty tomb, angels of God... and yet not until later would they grasp this greatest of truth, Jesus is alive!
Who will roll the stone away for us? Many times the women of the Easter story have been commended for acting out of love. But where was their faith? What did they expect? And are we any different? Even having the full revelation of Easter, are we not also preoccupied and perplexed with all kinds of worry and concern? As we approach the 'tombs' the obstacles and challenges before us, do we like those women struggle and wonder what to do and think? As much as that is true, we need to ask ourselves: Are we allowing the stones of doubt and worry to block God's joy? And if that be true, and by the way - all too often it is, who will roll away that stone? Enter dear angels of God, as you did that first Easter morn.
We are invited to the place where Jesus was laid; invited to believe the very promise of God,
I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. While all the skeptics and non-believers of the world call this the great deception of Christianity, for us it is the Gospel, God's power of salvation for the world. And there's more, Jesus invites us to the place where He continues to give us His own true body and blood in the Sacrament. Once again, this is the Gospel, God's power of salvation to the world.
Because Jesus lives, all of our stones are rolled away too. For instance, that stone that keeps us from the peace of God - that stone that keeps us from possessing Christian hope (not wishful thinking), that stone that keeps us from being free from the control of sin and the devil - in Christ all such stones are rolled away forever. We have the sure word and promise of our Savior to work in all things for the good of those who love Him. His victory is now our victory as well!
Dear friends the tomb is empty. Christ is risen! And that makes all the difference.
~ Pastor Kelly G. Mitteis
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