Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm afraid my story won't be enough.

Do you know what I love most about this story? After the women left to do what the angel said, Jesus met them on the way. This thrills me for so many reasons, but the biggest one is this: Jesus didn't make the women tell the story of another, He gave them their own.

I see it happen on a regular basis, people listen if they think you have been there before. People hear your heart when they think you really understand. Your personal story is what matters, not what you heard about someone else.

Sometimes I question my own story. I wonder where it is and where it is going. I feel as if it changes with such regularity, that there is no way I could wrap it up in a neat little bow, and honestly much of my story is quite private for a multitude of reasons. Despite all of that, I know that I do have my story, and it is valuable.

Will people listen? Maybe not. Maybe my story wont be big enough, or powerful enough, or what they are looking for. Maybe I will fall into the category of those who haven't quite experienced enough to understand. Maybe others will simply shake their head, smile politely and walk away. Maybe.

Maybe they will do the same to you as well.

But there are others who want to hear what you have to say. Even if your story isn't finished, because will it ever be? Even if your story has changed from a year ago, doesn't it always? Speak, my dear, and know that there is someone who would love to know your story, and there is someone who will be impacted by your story in ways you can never imagine. And trust that Jesus has met with you so that you can have your own personal story.

And if we tell each other this enough, prayerfully we will all trust the truth in it with our hearts.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The fear others won't believe

Matthew 28:5
The angel said to the women,
“Do not be afraid for I know that
you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.”

Matthew 28:10
Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid.
Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee;
there they will see me.”

When the angel tells the women not to be afraid, it seems very clear what they were afraid of: him. While Jesus spoke of the temple being rebuilt, I wonder if they understood it as a parable three days after his death. Did they truly have an idea of what they would be facing?

This angel was not terrible, but the guards Pilate had set to guard the tomb were afraid of him. So much so, they “shook and became like dead men.” I can only imagine this meant they fainted. Grown men. Soldiers. As the women came up to the tomb, the earth shook, the stone rolled, and the soldiers fainted. I believe I would need someone to reassure me as well.

They were looking for Jesus, but not alive. They were looking for Jesus, and they thought they knew where they would find Him. They were looking for Jesus, and everyone knew He would be in the tomb waiting for the final rituals of herbs, but He was not. The angel told them he had risen and gone to Galilee. The angel told them to go tell the disciples.

This is the first recording of the good news being told. How much disbelief sat in their minds? How much fear in their hearts that no one would believe them? Our Savior and Christ was no longer dead, but waiting for them and the disciples in Galilee. As they headed off in that direction they cross paths with Jesus, himself. He may be waiting for the disciples in Galilee, but he met them in the garden.

Their first reaction was to go to him, grasp him, and worship him, so I was curious about his first words to them after his greeting. “Do not be afraid.” It didn’t sound as if they were afraid of him, at least their behavior didn’t show it. They were not “like dead” nor face first on the ground. So, what were they afraid of? Going back a little to verse 8 we find, “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” I believe they were afraid the disciples would not believe the news they ran to tell them. They were obeying, and they believed, but how to make another believe as well?

I think this is why Jesus simply told them again to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee, though he refers to them as brothers. He’s letting the women know not to worry or fear what others will think, but to go with the joy, go with the heart, go with the good news and let the others know.

Question 1: Sometimes things are simply fearful, like the angel. When those moments come can you rest in God’s assurance that as long as you seek Jesus you will find him? Will you be open enough to find him where you do not expect him?

Question 2: Have you ever been fearful someone wouldn’t believe what you had to say? Have you ever been doubted so incredibly by someone it made you nervous to say anything at all? Can we get to the point where we believe in what we are saying enough, that it doesn’t matter what another’s response is?

Dear Father
You have given us things to say
You have given us people to speak to
Help us not fear their unbelief
Help us only seek you
And thank you for always being there

Monday, March 18, 2013

the Women's fear

In Matthew 28 we see women heading to a tomb. These women saw Jesus crucified. They were a few of those who remained while everyone else fled. Their hearts were broken, but their duty was not yet done. They went to the tomb made secure by Pilate’s word and guards, but as they arrived the world shook. The guards were faint, the stone rolled from the tomb’s opening, and the angel sat on the rock looking at them.

The angel sent them to the disciples to tell the good news. Jesus arose and was alive again. As they ran off in the direction they were sent, they crossed paths with another… with one they had not expected to see so soon. It was Jesus. They clasped his feet and worshiped him and then He spoke as well.

Matthew 28 5 10

Matthew 28: 5, 10

(5) The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified." (NIV) But the angel said to the women, Do not be alarmed and frightened, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, Who was crucified. (Amplified) The angel spoke to the women: “There is nothing to fear here. I know you’re looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. (The Message)

(10) Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." (NIV) Then Jesus said to them, Do not be alarmed and afraid; go and tell My brethren to go into Galilee, and there they will see Me. (Amplified) Jesus said, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that. Go tell my brothers that they are to go to Galilee, and that I’ll meet them there.” (The Message)

Matthew Henry's Commentary:
(5) Those that seek Jesus, have no reason to be afraid; for if they seek him diligently they shall find him, and find him their bountiful Rewarder.
(10) he will confirm the word of his messengers; and his way of comforting his people, is, by his Spirit to speak over again to their hearts the same that they have heard before from his angels.

Barnes Commentary:
(5) "Be not agitated, or troubled, that you do not find the body of the Saviour. I know that ye seek him, and are troubled that eh is removed; but you need not fear that he has been stolen. You will sem him again in Galilee."
(8) fear because of (1) the wonderful scenes which they had witnessed the stone rolled away, and the presence of an angel (2) a confused state of mind, apprehensive, perhaps, that it might not, after all, be true.

Clarke's Commentray:
(8) fear, produced by the appearance of this glorious messenger of od, and great joy occasioned by the glad tidings of the resurrection of their Lord and Master. At the mention of unexpected good news, fear and joy are generally intermingled.