So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.Matt 28: 8-10 (NIV)
Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him.
Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.
The women in this passage were both, “afraid yet filled with joy”. This passage demonstrates how it is possible to have a turn around in your circumstances and still be fearful that it isn’t real.
This phrase perfectly describes the sense of unbelief that you receive when things turn out unexpectedly for good. Even though the women have been greeted by Jesus. Even though they recognised him and touched him, clasping his feet. Yet, they are still fearful. So much so that he felt the need to reassure them and says to them, “Don’t be afraid”.
There are moments in life when you are in darkness darkness for so long it is hard to accept the evidence of light, even if it is irrefutably tangible. These women are touching the very person they thought was dead, and yet still they fear.
And don’t we do the same?
We say we want unmerited grace and mercy, we love the idea of him meeting our needs, but when it really comes down to it, we are not sure we want to cede control.
For who knows when and how he will meet those needs?
And what if he decides that those needs we see as priorities are actually not that important?
We would rather meet our own needs. For then at least we have control.
The thing about any gift is that you have to accept it, and yes there is a sense of both fear and wonder in the acceptance of this gift that we are offered at Easter
In the end it comes down to whether, after all this pain, trauma, and suffering we believe that he honestly has our good at heart?
The phrase Jesus uses when he meets these joyful and fear-filled women on the road is, “Don’t be afraid.”
And the message he gives to us as we look with both a mix of joy and disbelief at the change in our circumstances is, “Don’t be afraid.”
Are you in a place of fragile hope, emerging from a dark time of despair? The tentative steps that you take in your unbelief are normal. Give yourself grace for the journey.
Look around at the tangible evidence of your change of circumstances; let your mind adjust to the emergence into the light. Above all listen to the voice of Him that says, “Don’t be afraid” and continue on your way.
there’s a crowd in my way
pushing and shoving
and making my life uncomfortable
I just caught a glimpse
and over there
and right by my shoulder
with his elbow in my side
they’re overwhelming me
pulling me down
I look up
and see the great expanse of sky
and the hills in the distance
and I realise that I have somewhere
someplace to be
so I get up
I walk right through
I go on my way
This devotional series was originally sent to newsletter subscribers in Easter of 2018. I pray it gives you grace for your journey. If you would like to get my monthly newsletter please sign up here