Mark 16:4-8 (NIV): But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, (bold emphasis mine) ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”
Every Easter morning I place myself in Mary’s sandals. “Which one,” you ask? Choose one – Mary, Mother of Jesus, or Mary Magdalene. Two women who loved Jesus with distinctive kinds of love, yet each embodied one form of love that equaled in their roles as mother and friend – love for their Savior!
I attempt to imagine how it might have felt to discover the Son had risen from the dead. In Mother Mary’s case, her son had confirmed prophecy foretold. I have to believe, considering her faith and womanhood, Mary pondered in her heart, among other things, “Yes, Lord, the Angel was right! Now the people will know Joseph and I were obedient.” Mary Magdalene, not sharing the same history but a life-changing one nonetheless, surely contemplated, among other things, “He is real! For once in my life, someone spoke truth to me!”
Hope turned to despair was brought full circle to hope again. That’s the message of “Easter Sonrise” to this gal. But my reflection on Easter goes beyond the women at the tomb who were the first to witness our Risen Lord. I find myself sliding into Peter’s sandals, just to try them on for size. Resurrection Day finds those shoes too large for these following feet of Jesus Christ. But I wasn’t there! I only have the history, the story as told for centuries of how He rose from the grave. It’s easier on this side of history. Or, is it?
Similarly, Peter had the prophecies that had been passed down through the centuries. But Peter also had eyewitness accounts – his eyes – of Jesus’ miraculous acts, personal experience with His wisdom and teachings, as well as witnessing His unwavering faith. Yet Peter denied Jesus, not once but three times in His greatest hour of need. I am captivated, therefore, by the scripture in Mark where it was emphasized, “But go, tell his disciples and Peter ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
Go tell His disciples and Peter. The forgiveness was already in place. Peter, the rock – (not to be confused with THE Rock upon which the church was built) – had denied even knowing the Savior, and Jesus wanted Peter to know, “Hey, Dude, it’s okay. You’re invited to my “showing”!
It’s a telling moment for this sinner saved by the same grace! Even though I possess a sinful nature, despite the fact I have at times denied His power in my life, and notwithstanding the fact that I have even acted as a believer who didn’t fully grasp His message, therefore, appearing as one who might not totally acknowledge knowing Him, Jesus Christ’s blood still covers me. He wants me to know He is ever-present in my life. It’s as though I can hear Him say, “Go tell my disciples and Joyce ‘I have gone ahead of you, and you will see me, just as I told you.’”
Praise God for the message of Peters’ sandals at Sonrise – a reminder that He loves me … and you enough that we have a personal invitation to His next “showing.”