Mat 28:1 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.Mat 28:2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it.Mat 28:3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.Mat 28:4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.Mat 28:5 Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.Mat 28:6 He isn't here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying.Mat 28:7 And now, go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember what I have told you."Mat 28:8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel's message.Mat 28:9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him.Mat 28:10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid! Go tell My brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see Me there."
The Joy that Life Brings
Consider the act of birth. A new life comes into the world bringing with it all the implications of future joy, future worry, and future expectation; all bundled into this crying wriggling package. The nine month process of bringing this new life into existence caused much pain, discomfort, worry and strife; but along with that hope, expectation and joy of what this new life will mean.
We celebrate the birth of a child as a happy experience even though we know that there will be much pain involved. Not just physical pain but mental pain and stress. There will be a lifetime of work involved and none of it easy, yet we move forward with celebration.
Why? Why does new life bring so much joy wrapped up in so much misery?
Any parent will tell you that if you looked at the whole process of raising a child from a purely logical perspective, you would have to pronounce yourself mentally unstable for choosing to have one. Who would enthusiastically raise their hand if I asked this question...
"Who wants to bring a completely helpless life into this world. Worry about it, stress over it, be hated by it, cry for it...with it...and about it. Give it much of the money that you work hard to earn, only to have it disdain you for 'not ever giving it what it want's'. It will poop on you, barf on you, pee on you and rarely say thank you for what you've done. And this is only the beginning of the sorrows..."
Well, did you raise your hand? If you were being purely logical I would venture a guess that you wouldn't have raised your hand...but then again love is rarely logical.
As parents we are invested in our children in a way that makes no logical sense at all. It's called love and with love comes hope.
When I look at my children I see only what they could be. I hope for them to be happy, satisfied, joyful and most of all alive with their true purpose. I want them to know the love that I have for them is deeper than they are even able to comprehend. I am willing to do whatever is in my power to help them. I make the tough choices and exercise the tough love that will bring them around to what will save them all the while knowing that they can choose to do whatever they want. They may even choose to rebel against me or hate me but I don't care. I can quickly forgive that. All I want is for them to have this gift of love that I have to give. They don't even understand the treasure that my love is...how can I show them? How can I make them understand? Do I have to prove it somehow? Show it?
Jesus' death and resurrection
Jesus' death showed us the depth of His love for us. It brought us to the understanding that even though we were still sinners, sinners who were willing to spit in the face of love....He was still willing to die on our behalf. He did it to show us His character of love. He wanted us to see the real treasure. Do you see it?
However, our experience in this sinful world tells us that the death of something is the end of the line. None of the disciples would have ever come to the realization of the loving act that God performed at the cross if they had not seen the resurrected Christ. Instead they would have ultimately sulked away, thinking "Well, I guess Jesus wasn't really the Messiah we thought he was," and that would have been the end of the story. But the resurrection happened and it changed everything. This gave them hope! Now, they had a living Savior who was willing and able to save them. His new life brought with it hope of a future with a loving Father in Heaven who has not only shown that He loved them to the point of death on the cross, but that He has the power to save them and guide them and direct them as a loving Father.
If you are a parent you have undoubtedly had this thought: "If only my children could know how much I really love them, it would change the way they see me and respond to me." Well, maybe this is a universal truth? God needs us to see just how much He loves us so that it will change our attitude toward Him. And beyond even that, He has given us the demonstrated hope of the resurrection. A hope in His power to change us and form us into His loving image again.
Father in Heaven,
Thank You so much for doing everything possible to show us how much You love us. It is incomprehensible to my sinners mind, yet when I compare what you've done to how I feel about my own children I get a glimmer of understanding. Thank You for the trials and thorns of life that have brought me closer to You. I want to love You in a better way Lord. I want to love You the way that You loved me. Give me that strength...please. Help me also to see my "siblings" in the same way that You see them. Help me to desire their salvation as much as You do, and then give me the power to act upon that desire. Forgive me for all the times I did not return Your love.
Be with my family and my children in the way that I cannot. Protect them and lead them back to You Lord. Fill me with the Holy Spirit today. I give You my life. Amen.