Summary: The women came to the tomb of Jesus "early in the morning." Scripture teaches us to seek Him early in the morning, early in life, and early on in every endeavor.
Seek Him Early
Easter CHCC: April 8, 2007
How many of you were here at 7:30 for the Sunrise Service? Did you leap out of bed at 6:00 this morning, full of energy and excitement? I don’t know about you, but I have to set an alarm and drag myself out of bed most mornings. The only people I know of who are able to jump out of bed as soon as the sun appears are a couple of 3-year-olds (but then my grandchildren are amazing in every way…)
The account of Jesus’ Resurrection starts with 3 women getting up Early on a Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome traveling before daybreak from Bethany through Jerusalem, headed toward the tomb where Jesus had been buried. They were burdened down with spices and ointments --- and with unbearable sorrow.
I doubt they had much sleep the night before. The terrible events of Friday had left them in shock, weighed down with grief and despair. I’m amazed that we choose to call it Good Friday. The only thing “good” about it was the Character of the Man who died.
He willingly endured the mockery of a Trial that lasted all Thursday night and half the day Friday. After terrible beatings, he carried the cross --- or "stapes" of the cross --- weighing more than a hundred pounds.
After He was nailed to that instrument of torture, he hung for several hours, gasping and struggling for each breath. When he could manage to gasp out a few words, they were words of comfort and forgiveness. Then, with his last breath he gave the triumphant cry, "It is finished!"
The 3 women who were up so Early that Sunday morning wondered aloud, “Who will roll the heavy stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” It’s possible that at the very moment they were asking that question … an earthquake was shaking that huge bolder loose. The Roman guards were falling to the ground as if struck by Lightening. And the One they had come to prepare for burial was Rising from the dead.
All 4 Gospels start the Resurrection account by emphasizing the early hour. Matthew says, After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week… Mark says, Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise … Luke says, On the first day of the week, very early in the morning … John says, Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark …
Because these women got up so Early in the morning to seek Jesus, they were the first to see the Risen Lord. I think we can learn something from their example.
1. Seek Him Early in the Morning … Psalm 5:3
In Psalm 5:3, David says, "In the morning, 0 Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."
There’s something refreshing about the early morning hour. Once we are fully awake, it seems our senses are sharper. The world feels fresh and new. And it’s so amazingly QUIET. Scientists hypothesize that if we could travel back 2000 years, one thing that would shock us the most is the SILENCE. Think about it. All the constant background noise of our modern world: television, radios, trains, busses, cars, airplanes, and people talking on cell phones everywhere you go … none of these would have existed back then.
Getting up early is probably our best chance to experience some old-fashioned peace and quiet. The noises of the day have not yet taken over. There’s hardly any traffic, and we haven’t turned on all our electronic noise-makers yet. But the main point is not just getting up early. There’s an old saying, “The early bird gets the worm.” Well, if that’s the ONLY reason you’re getting up early, a worm may be all you get!!
Listen to this quote from an article in Time Magazine called RACING THROUGH LIFE: My life is hectic! I’m running all day, meetings, phone calls, paperwork, and appointments. I push myself to the limit, fall into bed exhausted, and get up early the next morning to do it all again. My output is tremendous; I’m getting a lot done. But I get this feeling inside sometimes, “So what? What are you doing that really counts?” I have to admit, I don’t know. Time Magazine in 1997
The point is not JUST getting up early. The point is to SEEK HIM early. Author Janette Oke put it this way: A quiet morning with a loving God puts the events of the upcoming day into proper perspective.
Jesus often used those early morning hours to connect with God… Mark 1:35-36 says that Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. This wasn’t unusual for Jesus. It was a regular early morning routine.