An Easter Resolution
As Easter approached this year, I began reevaluating my relationship with Jesus. What better time to do so than when we celebrate His resurrection. I decided to take time and look at each of the gospel accounts of when Jesus arose. As I read Mark's account, I was dumbfounded to realize how much I genuinely lack in my own faith as I meet with my risen Savior each week, not just this Easter Sunday, but every worship service I am a participant.
Mark 16:1-8 (KJV)
"And when the sabbath was past Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us always the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."
As I read this just before Easter Sunday, I pondered a few things from this particular account. First of all, why were they going to anoint him? In the very first verse, we find a group, which happens to be women, heading to Jesus' tomb with sweet spices to anoint him. Now, in that time, spices were used to offset the odor of death. However, had they not been under Jesus' teaching all this time, and yet they came to spice up someone dead? Had they forgotten His words, his teachings? Clearly, they had. In three different Gospel accounts, Christ tells his followers that he will suffer and be raised from the dead in three days (Matthew 16:21; Luke 9:22; Mark 8:31), yet these followers of Christ still headed to the tomb, not to see a risen Savior, but rather a rotting corpse.
I began to think, how many times do I really attend a church service expecting to see my risen Savior? Am I going every single time with the expectation of meeting Him? Or are my motives more selfish in nature? Do I head to worship service to spice up the smell of a rotting corpse—my own dead and sinful body? Because even though my spirit is so very willing to commune with Christ, my flesh is so very weak (Matthew 26:40). As much as I hate to admit it, I'm most likely more like these women than I'd care to admit. Even though I know the words and teachings of my Jesus, all too often, I forget and focus more on covering up my own stench than sitting at His feet and basking in the moments I have to worship.
Next, while the women made the necessary provisions head to the grave to anoint Christ's body, they were anything but prepared to open the tomb?
"And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us always the stone from the door of the sepulchre?" (v.3)
What good does it do to make preparations, yet not be able to roll the stone away? When we set out to see Christ every week, shouldn't we be ready to roll the stone away—the stone that has sealed our hearts shut with as we wandered throughout our week? Are we walking into a service, looking ready and smelling good only to be entirely unprepared to open our heart to hear what Jesus has to say in that small amount of time we are meeting with Him? Again, I realize what a failure I am at taking in every little word He has for me in each service I get to enjoy.
Finally, as the women arrive at the grave, they notice the stone is gone. Yet, hurriedly they rush in looking for a dead body (Luke 24:3), only to find a messenger of God, "and they were affrighted." (v.5) In the Greek, that word translates to amazed. BUT WHY?
After walking with Jesus, watching him feed thousands, heal multitudes, and even being one (Mary Magdalene) that was set free from demons by, why were they in shock? Then, I thought about myself. How many times do I end up utterly amazed when I receive a miracle or an answered prayer? Why don't I expect it? Even though I know so much of His word, I still seem to forget what an awesome and amazing God I serve, a God that's not dead. One that has undoubtedly risen and deserves so much more of me than I seem to give.
So this Easter, I'm making a resolution. I'm resolving to REMEMBER and EXPECT, with an open heart that I'm meeting a risen Savior with so much to say to me each and every time I allow Him to.