(Mark 16:1-8 ESV) 1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
I like to get up early. There’s nothing quite so beautiful as a sunrise on a clear morning. Frequently, I’m outside walking the dog as the sun peaks over the horizon. The birds are singing; the quietness of the morning is soothing and peaceful. It’s one of my favorite times of the day.
I also love morning because it’s a time to reflect. I don’t like to jump up out of the bed and feel rushed; the anxiety of the morning rush puts me in a bad mood for the remainder of the day. Just give me my coffee, the sunrise, some quietness, the friendship of my dog, and I’m good to go!
I’ve often wondered about the happenings at the tomb on resurrection morning. The picture painted in Mark 16 is one of stark contrasts. The women walked together to perform the task of anointing the body of Jesus. Just after sunrise, they begin to ask about who might be available to help roll the stone away so they could access the body for the ritual anointing. And then, when the sun had risen…
The conversation with the angel was enlightening. No, it was more than that. It was transformational. In that short conversation they learned of the fulfillment of centuries of prophecy. They recalled the words of Jesus. After all, He had been telling them to expect this. He was not dead; rather, He was alive. And the angel ended his instruction by reminding them, “…just as He told you.”
But, what happened next was unexpected. “They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” I’m not being critical. I may have reacted in the same manner. But, it still strikes me as an unusual response to the greatest news they could have received. He WAS alive! He had risen just as He said. Could there be better news? I think not! But, instead of telling everyone–instead of running, and screaming, and shouting–they said nothing… to anyone. Why? Because of fear.
As I read this account today, I was reminded of the many times that I have allowed fear to prevent me from experiencing the fullness of God’s blessings. I’ve missed opportunities to talk to individuals about Christ because of fear. Fear is a great silencer. It is the killjoy of the party. It stifles instead of liberating the soul.
Today is a new day. God has provided each of us with a new supply of mercy. We have much to be grateful for. His blessings are abundant. I want to encourage you to celebrate life today. Don’t let fear hold you back. Enjoy the sunrise. Enjoy the Lord!
PRAYER: Realizing that this is the day You have made, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it. Help me to put fear aside and live life to the full knowing that You are with me. Let me boldly declare the Good News of Your resurrection! Amen.