Letter to Empty Tomb Women
“Early Sunday morning, some women went to the tomb. There was an
earthquake. An angel came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.
The guards were petrified with fear.
But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid.
I know you’re looking for Jesus who was crucified.
He is not here, for He has risen!’
The angel continued, ‘Go and tell His disciples
that Jesus has risen from the dead!’
So the women left quickly to tell His disciples,
still fearful, yet filled with great joy.
Suddenly, Jesus met them.
He said, ‘Greetings!’
They worshipped Him.
Then they spread the good news.”
Dear Empty Tomb Women,
Many, many, many years ago when I was in seminary and serving as an unordained pastor – knowing what that means in a worldly way but knowing what it does not mean spiritually – at the Delaware Presbyterian Church near the Water Gap on the New Jersey-Pennsylvania border, I turned on the radio while driving back to the seminary late one Sunday night and caught a preacher from Newark screaming, “The only Gospel that some people will ever hear or see is the Gospel according to you and me!”
That has stayed with me over the years.
It has come to mean many things to me.
It means people who really know Jesus and really love Jesus love like Jesus and invite everybody else to the party.
It means people who really know Jesus and really love Jesus imitate Jesus in what they say and do like Paul who really knew and really loved Jesus:
“It is no longer I who live but it is Jesus who lives in and through me.”
It means people who really know Jesus and love Jesus don’t act like He’s still dead and buried. They’re alive and well and excited and confident and calm and strong and sane in time because they know their souls live on long after the last breath.
It’s all because He beat death.
Annnnnnnd you were the first to know it.
You were the first to tell others about it.
You were the first Gospelers.
Jesus was written all over your faces; just like that screaming preacher in Newark heralded so long ago.
You couldn’t keep your mouths shut about Him.
He did the most spectacular thing in history/His-story (beating death) with the most spectacular message in history/His-story (people who believe in Him as Lord and Savior will beat death too).
That’s the Gospel.
Nothing more and no one else.
You weren’t jumping up and down with joy about religious stuff like vestments, furniture, carpet coloring, rituals, ceremonies, and such fragile and temporal things.
You were running all around Jerusalem and then everywhere else with the best news ever: “He is risen!”
That was the only news capable of finishing off the fear that has gripped souls since the start; or as Paul later scoffed. “So, death, where is your victory now? Now that Jesus has risen from the dead and we will rise with Him by grace through faith in Him, you’re done with us and we’re done with you! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!”
People in the church know there's more evidence for the resurrection of Jeus than the birth of George Washington.
People in the church have pointed to at least five facts proving His resurrection.
First, the Church has consistently focused on and referred to the resurrection of Jesus as the keystone of its praise and practice since A.D. 32.
Second, the worship calendar shifted for Christians from the Jewish Sabbath (7th day of the week) to Sunday (1st day of the week) because Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday.
Third, there are 27 testimonies to His resurrection called the New Testament.
Fourth, the disciples were transformed from cowards into bravehearted Gospelers to face the tests of torture and martyrdom because of His resurrection.
Fifth and finally, Jesus is alive in/through everyone who believes in Him; or as one of our favorite songs goes, “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart!”
Annnnnnnd it all started when you were the first ones to see Him on that first Easter/Resurrection morning.
Imagine if you kept that news to yourselves.
Actually, that’s a silly thought.
It’s impossible to keep Jesus to yourself if you’ve really seen and experienced and know and love Him.
That screaming preacher in Newark was/remains right.
Just like you proved, there’s nothing else to do but be a Gospeler once you’ve seen and experienced and know and love Him.
I guess that’s why some like you do and others unlike you…
Oh, now I understand the difference between a religion about Jesus and a relationship with Jesus.
You were the first to show/prove the difference.
Part of the Family
Blessings and Love!
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