They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but they said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.’
Imagine the range of emotions the women experienced as they stood inside the empty tomb – grief, confusion, terror, joy. We can experience these same emotions as we try to make sense of God’s work in our lives and world. But as the angel says, why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. God is alive and at work throughout the world, continuing to expand his reign of hope and shalom.
- Where do you see the work of Christ’s salvation in your life today?
- Is there a place of death where you are looking for Jesus and hoping he will show up?
- What would it look like for the proclamation, “He is risen indeed” to infuse your attitudes and actions today and this next week?
Gracious God, through the death and resurrection of Christ, you have conquered all evil and reconciled us to Yourself. Help us to live in the light of your truth and presence even in the midst of darkness. May we understand and embrace the resurrection life that you invite us to. With gratitude we give you glory and honor. Thanks be to God! Amen.
6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.
Twice in this passage, the women who came to the empty tomb are invited to remember Jesus’ words. And when they remembered, they knew what they needed to do. When we spend time with Jesus, and listen for him, we too remember what he has said and know what is ours to do.
- As you read this passage, are there areas of your life that don’t make sense?
- What is Jesus saying to you in the midst of this confusion?
- What promises give you hope?
Gracious Lord, thank you for the way you treat us gently and prepare us for what is next. Help us to listen for you and remember your words and your faithfulness in the past that we might find comfort and direction today and in the future. In your name, Amen.
10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
Imagine what it must have felt like for the women who had just seen the empty tomb to have their good news met with skepticism and dismissal by those who followed Jesus most closely. And on the other hand, what it would feel like to be told that the one whose death you are grieving is actually alive. It is this hope beyond hope that we are invited to live in today as followers of our risen Lord.
- What is the good news you have to share with those closest to you? What do they need to hear from you?
- How well are you listening for good news around you? Are there voices you are resisting and if so, why?
- What is leaving you amazed these days?
Gracious Jesus, your resurrection created quite a stir. As we remember and celebrate it each year, we pray that it will create a stir in us anew, and that we will be witnesses to your good news to those who so desperately need it. Keep us, we pray, from losing our sense of gratitude and amazement around your redeeming and reconciling work in us and in the world. In your name, Amen.
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
Here is our good news as believers and followers of Jesus. We find our victory, not in the law or being good enough, but by being covered by the cleansing work of Christ on the cross. Therefore, as we tune in to what God has called us to do, we can be faithful to Him alone, His mission in the world.
- How does the resurrection of Christ free you up to excel in His work?
- Are there messages that hold you back from wholehearted pursuit of God?
- What are you faithfully doing that, in God’s economy, is not in vain?
Gracious God, thank you that you are the one who has reset the world and the value system under which we operate. We are free from the law and death, and free to live into all you have created us to be. Protect us from the messages that seek to restrain us from living wholeheartedly for you and for your glory. We are yours, and yours alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”
Throughout the gospels, Peter is portrayed as one of the more outspoken disciples. One moment he is proclaiming Jesus as Messiah and the next, correcting him. In this intimate conversation, after Peter has denied Jesus and confronted his own weakness, Jesus still asks for Peter’s loyalty, and Peter resists until he can’t anymore.
- If Jesus knows all things, why do you think he asks Peter if he loves him?
- Is there something that the Lord is asking you that you are resisting?
- What would it look like to say yes to Jesus today?
Lord God, we ask for your grace today to listen for your voice and respond. Help us to listen for what you are asking us to do, and to say, Yes, wholeheartedly. Thank you that you know all things, including our hearts, and patiently draw us into yourself and into your mission in the world. Show us what is ours to do and give us the strength to do it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.