Sometimes as believers, the world around us can seem quite lifeless; and in a spiritual sense, it is. Last week, leading up to Easter, that thought captivated me while preparing for Sunday. To me, the angel’s question to Mary at the tomb is so relevant today;
“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” – Luke 24:5 NKJV
We should be the happiest generation of all time. We have the most modern conveniences, no real threat of military invasion, famines, or diseases. We have numerous opportunities for education, career, and business ventures. However, when you watch people at the mall, their faces often don’t reflect a happy generation at all. The truth is, a world without Christ is lifeless and dead. Not unlike the environment surrounding Mary and the other women at the tomb.
Perhaps the world you live or work in feels that way sometimes. If so, let me offer three thoughts of encouragement today based on the powerful victory Jesus won over death.
I. There is hope while living among the dead
Hope is forward looking. When hope is lost we often go back to where we once had it to recapture a feeling or emotion of a time when things “were right”. However, the life of faith looks forward. John tells us that Mary once anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive oil (John 11:2), and was affirmed by the Lord for it. There is a similarity with her early morning trip to the tomb to finish the work of anointing the Lord’s body. I imagine she had hoped for a sense of closure by demonstrating her love in a way she had done before, but the body was gone. At that moment, her dilemma wasn’t so much Jesus’ death, as it was her inability to complete a task. And as she frantically asked about the body, she heard a familiar voice speak, “Mary!” Suddenly, everything changed! The emptiness of the tomb wasn’t a problem, it was the answer! Hope isn’t about trying to go back, it’s about following Him forward.
III. There is joy while living among the dead
Life can deliver a lot of unexpected things. The women didn’t expect Jesus to be crucified, and they stood outside the tomb with compounded grief. Not only were their hearts broken, they also felt “kicked while they were down” with someone stealing the body. However, right next to them in the shadows was the Lord. He was never far away and His voice brought an overwhelming sense of joy. What circumstances had stolen, the Lord restored. Don’t allow the dead world around you to steal something that doesn’t belong to them. Our joy comes directly from the Lord Himself.
III. There is abundance while living among the dead
Life in a fallen world can leave us feeling empty at times. Jesus described the enemy as one who “steals, kills and destroys”, but He said of Himself:
“I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10 NKJV
In Christ, we don’t just exist while waiting for heaven, there is abundance! He didn’t go the cross just to provide a bare-minimum salvation, He crushed sin and death, so that we may live a life of freedom. In Christ, we are forgiven. In Christ, we are loved. In Christ, we are heard. In Christ, we have hope. In Christ, we have joy. In Christ, we have peace. And in Christ, there is abundant life among the dead!!