Silence and Stillness before God (2 minutes)
Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 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.” 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. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.” As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
Consider the angel’s words in the reading above: He is not here. He has risen. Just as He said. He has risen from the dead. He is going ahead of you. And you will see him. (Matthew 28:6-7)
When Jesus rose from the dead, there was a changing of the guard. Pilate’s soldiers had been guarding the tomb, but when Christ breathed a new breath into the darkness, God’s angel took up their post, rolled away the stone and boldly declared the new truth of the tomb: Life.
But the guards told a different story. Bribed by religious leaders who were threatened by a living Jesus, they told the lie that he was still dead – a story that immediately spread among the Jews and is still told today.
Let us fast from guarding tombs and trust God’s truth about our past.
Questions to Consider
Are you weary of hiding the past from the future? Are you still guarding tombs? Do you believe in the truth of new life? Why permit shame to guard your past, when that tomb is empty? Nothing is there anymore. Jesus conquered it. Jesus removed it. All that is there now is light and hope!
God, reveal any tombs I am still guarding. Thank you for the truth of what now lies in those once-dark places: life, light, and freedom! I give up my post and trust You to guard the entrance of my heart, in the name of Jesus! Amen.
Conclude with Silence (2 minutes)
The 40 days of decrease blogs have been inspired by the book “40 Days of Decrease” by Alicia Britt Chole.