For some reason, pastors really like to preach in their own pulpits on Resurrection Sunday. When I served as a local church pastor, I felt the same way. This year, however, I’m in the pew on the Sunday that commemorates the most important event in human history: the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Allow me to share with you some obscure insights about the resurrection of our Lord. Let’s use Mark 16 as our text, and notice the question posed by the women going out to visit the grave that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. Verse 3 reads: “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” We know from the following verse that when they came close enough to see, the stone that was too big for them to move was already rolled away.
It’s fascinating that Mark, who tends to write in a style that tells primarily more of an overview about an event, makes note of such detail: the fact the women talked about the stone; the fact that it was large and that it was already moved away from the entrance. Perhaps there is some drilling down we need to do about the stone. I offer the following observations:
There are stones in life that are impossible to move
The women faced a humanly impossible situation. The Lord was not surprised by the stone and its size, or by the incapacity of the women to move it. He is the God of the impossible and He always has a purpose. Nothing is impossible for Him, except evil, for He is holy.
What impossible situation do you face in life? Have you recently considered the “impossibles” in your current context of doing life? What would it take to change an impossible relationship? What will bring purpose to an impossible terminal illness?
Have we considered the value of a broken and contrite heart toward God in the middle of an impossible situation? Truth is, the impossibilities are too big for us to “fix.” Yet, our God says to us in 1Peter 5:7, “Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you.”
There are stones in life that keep us from seeing things as they really are
Before the women arrived at the tomb, they perceived that it would be dark inside. The stone would have kept it dark. But now it was open and it was a changed room. Instead of the stench of death, it reflected the luminous glory of the risen Lord Jesus (Luke 24). The tomb was ablaze. The divine “messenger” of verses 5-7 must have lit up the room, or the “shekinah” was present. The women thought they would find darkness only to discover that, just as Jesus taught them, He would rise from the grave.
Too often, we can view the circumstances of life as giant stones. These stones, even ones of our own making, keep us from seeing and experiencing the truth that our Lord has for us. We have a choice to make: to believe God, or the stone that inhibits our vision of God at work in our lives.
We may not rationally understand the “why” of what we are facing, but our God holds us near and dear to Him. His promises are firm, and Jesus’ resurrection from the grave is the guarantee that what our Lord has told us is so, no matter what our circumstances say. We can believe God instead of the stones that block the truth about us.
There are stones of our past that place us in bondage
The ladies were approaching the tomb like the good, duty bound religious people of their day. But the removal of the stone and the open grave changed everything on that first Resurrection Sunday. Hallelujah!
The stone of the past that traps us into religiosity instead of a personal relationship with Jesus is gone. The stone of performance that traps people into thinking God is obligated to accept them because of their accomplishments or service is gone as well. Those are just stones that must be rolled out of the way because the Lord is coming out! No grave can hold the One who taught that by repentance and faith in Jesus alone, people can become reconciled to God.
Oh, yes! He has risen, indeed!
He has come out of the grave, and no stone is going to stop it. When we surrender our lives and place our trust in the Lord Jesus, the resurrected life of our Lord Jesus becomes our destiny.