Summary: For some of us, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a reminder, not of the victory over death, but the death of victory in our lives. We fear really relishing in the resurrection because of our own failures, fears, and weaknesses. If that's you, then I've
The first Resurrection Sunday was not a happy day for the most part. For the disciples it was a day to cower in fear that they were next to be hauled away and crucified. It was a day of extreme sorrow for the women who loved Jesus so. It was a day of fear and dread for the Roman soldiers who discovered their charge had escaped the grave. It was much more a day of questions than answers as two of the disciples had a footrace to the tomb and found there—nothing but used grave clothes.
It was a day of confusion and emotional fog and fear being pulled kicking and screaming into joy that was simply too good to be true.
Each one of the main players in the story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, was hiding behind something—and Jesus then urged them to come out from their hiding place.
Let’s start with Mary Magdalene in John 20:1-18 .
Mary was so sorrowful that she didn’t recognize her Savior standing right in front of her. She wanted to hang on to what she knew-the comfortable if terrifying-but Jesus urged her to accept the resurrection as a reality.
Peter we know from verse 19 was afraid. He and the other disciples locked themselves away for fear of the Romans and perhaps the Jewish religious leaders. He had run away in fear on the night of Jesus’ arrest and denied he even knew Jesus for fear of arrest. He and John had rushed out for a quick peak at the tomb after Mary’s report but didn’t know what to make of it (though John says this was the point where he believed, it says nothing about Peter).
Peter hid from Jesus in fear and also out of regret for his failures. From the time Jesus appears alive we don’t see Peter as the leader. His name isn’t even mentioned. Then in John 21 Peter decides to go back to his old way of life, perhaps thinking that Jesus was through with him as a failure.
But Jesus appears and makes Peter reconnect his love and reconnects him with his purpose.
Thomas hid behind pride. He wasn’t there when Jesus first appeared to the disciples on that Sunday (where was he, by the way?). He said (John 20:25 ) “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe!”
Thomas was more interested in his opinion than the facts as presented by others. If he wasn’t satisfied then he’d have nothing to do with it. He was an all or nothing kind of guy. Jesus appeared again (over a week later) and the first words to Thomas were a challenge. “You said you needed proof other than eye witness accounts so here it is” (no one gets that, by the way anymore). It took that to jerk Thomas from his place of stubbornness and pride into exclaiming for the first time that Jesus is God.
Finally there were the two men travelling to Emmaus the day of the Resurrection. We find their story in Luke 24:13-35 . As they walked along they argued about 1. The role of the Messiah and 2. Whether Jesus had indeed been raised. They seemed more interested in popular opinion than in the man who joined them on the road.
It wasn’t until Jesus Himself explained the real purpose of the Messiah and then demonstrated through the breaking of bread that they realized who it was.
So how about you? When faced with the reality of the crucifixion, do you have trouble accepting the reality of the resurrection? Last time we talked about the necessity of hiding behind Jesus as He became a target for the wrath of God against evil in your soul. Now as we see Him rise from the dead it is the proof that He was able to absorb that entire wrath and even as He was set free from the tomb and from death, so too you are set free.
The resurrection means it is now safe to come out of hiding behind our sin and fear, our flesh and our weaknesses. What are you hiding behind?
Are you hiding behind your failures of the past?
Like Peter, the past can come back to haunt us. The enemy tempts us to sin then berates and accuses us when we do. Failure can lead us to not want to come out in the open and face the risen Savior but just stay tucked away and hope He doesn’t notice us slipping into heaven through the back door.
We can also be so consumed with failure that we won’t even approach Jesus. “I’ve done too many wrong things in my life for God to forgive.” Let me ask you a question: How big would God need to be in order to be bigger than your failures? Can you imagine a sacrifice so big? God is bigger than even what you can imagine, and His sacrifice much more complete than you ever know.