Choose Life, Not Death
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went 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 and sat on it….But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee, there you will see him. (Matthew 28:1-2,5-7, ESV)
The women went to the tomb before dawn Easter morning to tend to Jesus’ body. They went with the dread and expectation of seeing death. What they saw was an angel dressed in clothing as white as snow—heaven’s color for life and purity—announcing Jesus wasn’t there but was living and the message from Jesus was they were to “go quickly” to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee. That was where they would see him.
In John’s account we see Mary Magdalene standing outside the tomb weeping and Jesus appears to move her beyond the tomb and past death to the place of living. (Read John 20:11-18)
It’s the tradition of many to return to the gravesite of their loved one to mark or observe special occasions: birthdays, anniversaries, other times that were important to the deceased and their family. Sometimes they have a special ceremony or may stand around talking and remembering certain things about their loved one. Does Jesus find it counterproductive to gather at the site of death to remember or celebrate the living?
Jesus commanded the disciples to meet him in Galilee. As far away from his burial place as possible. He was not there what would be the point of telling them to meet him at a place where there was no life?
Jesus instructions for the disciples might cause us to consider the places of death we revisit or continually return to in our mind, heart, or practices. Places even mental observances that keep us tied to and focused on death. Unable to move forward to new life and wholeness. Paul said “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (Read I Corinthians 15:55-58). The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law, but Jesus has given us victory over sin and death through his own victory! We do not hang out at death or entertain dead situations because staying in death dishonors the victory Jesus won for us on the cross.
Jesus arose with power and authority. When he met the disciples to let them know he was fully alive he did things such as letting or telling them to touch him, letting them see him eat, walking and talking with them. Dead people do not do these things. Even if we have a visit from a loved one who has gone home to be with the Lord, they do not sit and eat with us. They do not stay to hang out with us.
Jesus passed through death; the grave was not his stopping place. There was no reason for him to get up from the grave, emerge from the tomb and set up camp outside the tomb, entertaining visitors at deaths’ door. The angel said, “no, if you are looking for Jesus he’s not here where death still lingers in the atmosphere, he’s gone on to live in his new power and authority, gone on to live as the resurrected Savior.
God, the Gardener examines the branches to see how they are; are they living/bearing fruit or are they dead. Those that are producing he cuts back so they can produce more, but those that are dead he cuts away.
Jesus did not want his tomb to become a shrine where his followers met each anniversary to cry about what happened to him at the hands of evil rulers and hardhearted people. And God does not want us to make places where death happened, the places we continue to gather and cry and keep the memory of death alive. Satan loves the stench of death, he loves to hang out at death, but Jesus loves the sweet fragrance of life. if we want to see Jesus we need to go where life is.
Jesus you did not stay in or at the tomb but you went on to live that victorious life won through suffering and death. Show us when we are camped out at death instead of embracing life and move us forward Lord. Amen
Am I living or have I made my home in death?
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