Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.
But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.
The first Easter morning dawned brightly. The sun skipped lightly to its place in a pink sky, bringing radiance and early warmth to a dewy earth. Birds flew lightly and sang happily. Nature rang praises for this new beginning of days. The gap between God and man was healed, restored. A new path paved, a fresh well opened. The miracle was done. Salvation completed. The gift was now the world's to open.
Two Marys went to Jesus' tomb. Their deep, devoted love for their Master led them there on this first Lord's Day. What astonishing joy awaited them! Never would they have dreamed their unyielding love for the One who so loved them would lead them to such a place of holy experience.
At the tumultuous, eventful sight they beheld, fear grasped their hearts. The rumbling of a moving earth, the luminous glow of an angelic presence, and the Roman soldiers, fallen in a state of awe, must have made the hearts of the Marys weak with dread.
They were, however, destined for the occasion. Ordered, by heavenly choice, to partake in the most holy, historical event in human history. They listened to the divine voice that announced the risen Savior and heeded the words to go and tell. "So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy; and ran to bring the disciples word."
And their obedience, their faith, their fear, their love, their joy, their devotion is ours to also employ. To follow. To do. To imitate. These lovely women of God, who were elected to carry the news of the most monumental, the most climatical, most supernatural event ever to grace human ears were chosen not for their acquaintance with Christ (many knew Him), not for their industrious qualities (many had proven very eager), not for their love alone (His disciples and His mother certainly loved Jesus). No, they were chosen because God saw the steadfast, loyal, faithful, obedient hearts the Marys had.
Mary and Mary Magdalene sought the Lord at first morning light. Their devotion to Jesus led them to the tomb to anoint His body. They were not hiding away in fear of the opinions or threats of others. Jesus came first. They did not run in fear, but stayed and heard the words of the angel. The two Marys were not intimidated by God's word. They responded in faith to what was told them. "So they went quickly from the tomb. . . . " Mary and Mary Magdalene accepted God's word with joy, even though their hearts were filled with awe, and they swiftly ran to carry the word of Christ's resurrection to the disciples.
The two Marys. . .
Sought the Lord early,
Were not afraid of others' opinions,
Were not intimidated by fear,
Put Jesus first in their lives,
Listened to God's word,
Responded in faith,
Obeyed God's word,
Rejoiced greatly for the gift of Christ, and
Carried the gospel to others.
On this post resurrection celebration morning, I am left in wonder at the faith and devotion of these two godly women, who gave their all to Jesus. What inspiration they are for us today in the 21st century! Their lives and responses to God are ours to imitate. And their hearts are ones we must admire, asking God to make us such people of faith, such vessels of surrender, such faith-gatherers, such chosen ones.
Dear friends, may we study the devotion of these two women of grace, who hallowed the sacred call on their lives and the very presence of Jesus. May we pray for like hearts that will, in faith, receive God's word, and likewise, follow wherever it leads us. And may we always, as the holy occasion of Easter winds down, keep the awe of that divine day churning in our hearts, ever being inspired with the resurrection power that is the Fathers and the Son's gift of life to us. And, may we with our inspiration, go, . . . and share the news of His salvation and peace with others.
Scripture from Matthew 28:1-8, NKJV