As I was finishing my devotional reading of Matthew’s Gospel, I was struck by the words that the angel spoke to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary when they came to Jesus’ tomb on that glorious morning. What struck me was how good this news really is and what a healing balm it is to our soul, considering how often good news in this life doesn’t live up to expectations.
Here’s the passage I was reading:
After the Sabbath ended, at the first light of dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to take a look at the tomb. 2–4 Suddenly, the earth shook violently beneath their feet as the angel of the Yahweh descended from heaven. Lightning flashed around him and his robe was dazzling white! The guards were stunned and terrified—lying motionless like dead men. Then the angel walked up to the tomb, rolled away the stone, and sat on top of it!
5 The women were breathless and terrified, until the angel said to them, “There’s no reason to be afraid. I know you’re here looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here—he has risen victoriously, just as he said! Come inside the tomb and see the place where our Lord was lying. 7 Then run and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead! I give you his message: ‘I am going ahead of you to Galilee and you will see me there.’ ” (Matt.28:1-7 TPT*)
Imagine these women being in such deep disappointment and grief only to witness this literal explosion that heralded such impossible hope, which was similar in some ways to Jesus’ first announcement (see Luke 2:8-18).
In my life I’ve witnessed many events that were really good news—the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed discrimination on the basis of race, the fall of Communism in the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall being torn down (which meant the Cold War I grew up under was essentially over), and the one who orchestrated 9/11, Osama Bin Ladin, being killed by a Navy Seal team. More recently, the vaccine was made available that was supposed to put an end to the pandemic that had changed our lives for the worse in so many ways.
There are many other hopeful events I could recount in the span of my life, but my point is this: these things have never lived up to their expectations. We now have “woke” race hustlers saying there’s been no progress on racial discrimination; Communism and Socialism are still alive and well, sadly, in the hearts of many of our young people; the Taliban was won in Afghanistan because of our inept administration; and we’re still told to wear masks and be be afraid of the virus, even after being vaccinated.
All these things are toxic to the soul.
“That’s just the way it is,” as the song goes.
I didn’t realize how much this had all piled on my wearied heart until I read these words, “He isn’t here—he has risen victoriously, just as he said!”
This was like a healing balm to my soul!
Just as He said!
Jesus did exactly what He said He would do. As the Marys found out, we can count on this! Jesus’ empty tomb and resurrection is a statement of the one thing that never disappoints. Indeed, this good news, as the first disciples were about to find out, keeps getting better and better the more we understand it! This is our unshakeable hope! An unbreakable anchor to our soul!
18 So it is impossible for God to lie for we know that his promise and his vow will never change!
And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness. This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time—an unshakable hope! 19 We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself. Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, 20 and where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone in before us. He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek. (Heb.6:18-20 TPT*)
Beloved, when your hope is anchored here, nothing that happens in this life, good or bad, can truly shake you! This is the ONE THING in this world and the next that we can truly count on. Many things, people, promises, will disappoint us, weary us, anger us—nevertheless, we have this unshakeable hope living in us!
Not only was the tomb empty and Jesus raised from the dead and ascended to heaven, but WE were raised and ascended with Him! We are NOW seated in heavenly places in Him. That’s called the Good News that brings great joy, by the way.
6 He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ! (Eph.2:6 TPT*)
Whatever happens in this life is not better than this, right?
Here’s the thing. In this world, things rarely live up to expectations. But with Jesus, He always delivers. He did just what He said on that resurrection morning. But not just that, He actually does far better than our expectations, doing and working in us in ways that exceed our wildest imagination!
20 Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you. (Eph.3:20 TPT*)
Here’s a song to encourage you. It’s going to be better than you can dream.