If it doesn't count for Christ, it doesn't count.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come Sunday

Friday they were distraught, desperate, weeping in their love, their loss, and their helplessness.

We don't know how they spent Saturday, how they felt as they observed their Sabbath. More weeping and mourning, I'm sure. Trying to understand, to remember, to sort it all out.  Dazed, confused, wondering what it all meant. What was it all for?  Following the law of the Sabbath, were they able to observe the Sabbath in their grief? Did they just go through the motions?  And, though they did not realize it at that time and maybe for a very long time to come, what would have changed the way they  spent this particular Sabbath had they known that this was to be the last Holy Sabbath as a new day dawned?  Certainly their hearts and their minds were with the body that lay in a tomb.  And their desire was to see that the body was properly prepared for burial.

Had the execution, the crucifixion, taken place a day earlier, the women would have been able to apply the spices and perfumes to the body prior to the burial. The body would have been placed into the tomb and the tomb would have been sealed.  There would have been no need to return to the tomb.  Perhaps everyone who was in Jerusalem for Passover would have simply returned to their home towns and villages having buried their loved one.

It seems that the only ones who were concerned with what might  happen at that tomb were the Jewish leaders who had conspired to have Jesus crucified.  They convinced Pilate to posts guards at the tomb to ensure that it remained undisturbed.  Maybe I missed it, but I can't find where anyone else had made plans or had intentions of returning to the tomb.

But God's timing is perfect.  He had it all worked out.  He knew that the exact time of Jesus' death  on the cross- as Jesus said, "Into thy hands I commit my spirit" - and observance of His law concerning the Sabbath would prevent His beloved Son's body from being properly prepared for burial before it could be laid in the tomb.  He also knew that the body did not need to be fully prepared. But, that is not really the point. God knew that the women, in their love for Jesus, would be returning to the tomb as soon as they possibly could to apply the burial spices and perfumes. And He knew when they would come. He had something He wanted them to see.

Come Sunday, early in the morning, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Salome, and "the others who were with them" (I compiled the names from the four gospels), went to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus.

They saw that the stone had been rolled away and they peered into an empty tomb! Angels there at the tomb explained that Jesus is risen!

Come Sunday, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, calling her by name!

The angels and then Jesus told the women to go and tell the others!

Come Sunday, there was great celebration as those who followed Jesus realized that He is the risen Lord, that Jesus lives!

Come Friday, we will reflect on the tortuous treatment Jesus endured at the hands of those who opposed Him.  We can marvel at the forgiveness He extended to those who ignorantly participated in that torture, knowing that we, in our anger, would seek their destruction for what they did to our Lord and what they would do to us. We will wonder how and where, in His pain, and suffering, and humiliation, He found in us worth for such self-sacrifice.

Come Friday, "All this for me? . . . Why?", we will ask, possibly with tears in our eyes as we realize that it is because of my sin and for my salvation that the Son of God endured the cross even unto death.
Come Sunday! Come Sunday, there must be great celebration for what God has done!  By the power of God, Jesus defeated death and rose from the grave!  Jesus lives! And Jesus still offers eternal life to anyone who will accept it!  Jesus will turn our tears of sorrow and shame into tears of joy!  Come Sunday, may we follow the Holy Spirit which inhabits those of us who are Christians into nothing less than all-out uninhibited, unrestrained praise and worship of our Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!  Come Sunday, may we pray that the lost among us will hear, receive, and accept the call of Jesus upon their lives!

Come Sunday, . . .Celebrate! Sunday and every day!


PS   It occurs to me that sin came to power on earth when Eve, a woman, "bit the apple".  (I know, Eve was deceived, Adam willingly and knowingly followed.)  Did God, in His grace and mercy, extend favor and send a message of a different sort of redemption by having Mary Magdalene, a woman, be the first to carry word of Christ's resurrection and thus the end of sin's power over mankind?     

Enjoy 2 videos today!

This one is fun!