Jesus’ resurrection should be the filter for everything you see, imagine, say, do, and feel. Jesus’ resurrection should give you an identity that defines circumstances instead of circumstances defining you. Do you believe this? Do you? Or do you shrink back? Do you hide, either in passivity or aggression? Hide in work or social media or alcohol? Paralyzed by worry?
Listen again to what the Bible tells us the angel announced that resurrection morning to the women at the tomb, distressed with grief that Jesus was dead. “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead’” (Matthew 28:5-7).
Four things jump off the page here.
- “Do not be afraid.” Even the angels know how fear paralyzes us.
- Jesus “was crucified.” Was. Crucified. It’s done. It’s over. The crucifixion thundered God’s justice for your sins down on Jesus, but it is finished. Believe that God doesn’t punish you anymore.
- Jesus “is not here.” Jesus is not victim but victor. The grave’s power can’t trap him. Jesus has power over life and death, power over lies and fear, power over mistakes and a doctor’s diagnosis and marriage troubles. None of it has a say in your life that cancels what Jesus says.
- “Go.” There’s the call. The women fled “afraid yet filled with joy,” which is the Bible’s way of saying they were jumping out of a plane skydiving for the first time. Exhilarating. Thrilling. A bit scary. Adventure.
Remember the moment you learned to ride a bike? Big grin. Maybe a couple of scraped elbows. But once you did it, you just had to do it some more. Why? Because at first you can’t believe you did it, but then fear gives way to freedom. You have an adventure waiting for you out there—and even in here (your heart). The resurrection of Jesus flips a switch for you from fear and death to freedom and life. It makes you faith-filled and faithful, courageous, going where Jesus dispatches you, and telling others about this awesome Easter adventure.
Live! Believe! Go! Ride. With a big grin.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, faith in your resurrection is like learning to ride a bike. Paralyzing fear gives way to adventurous freedom. Help me believe this today. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: What are you most afraid of? How does it paralyze you? Where do you try to hide? Put away distractions for a while and meditate on this. Read Matthew 28:5-7 and pause at each of the 4 points above. At each point, ask yourself, “How does this change what fear is doing in my life? What does it look like for me to get on my bike and ride, with joyful, adventurous freedom that believes Jesus?”