Do Not Be Afraid!
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7)
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
Jesus ever woos us to go further with Him. His constant invitation is “Come.” Like a mother who is teaching her child to walk, He sweetly holds out His hands, bidding us come to Him. He knows He is the answer to all our questions.
-H. A. Ironside
But we have work to do. We have errands to run. We are too busy! And we find ourselves flat out missing the angelic visit. I wonder if Mary Magdalene and the other Mary had work to do. I wonder if their floors needed sweeping. I wonder if dishes were stacked in their sinks. I wonder if there were meals to be prepared. Somehow, I think they chose higher and were therefore abundantly rewarded for it. Funny how we go from minutes, to days, to weeks, to months, to years, continuously soft pedaling our faith, compartmentalizing it, making it a “Sunday matter,” one that we can barely squeeze in to our all-important schedules.
The ladies in our verses for today had their priorities straight and they were blessed by their choice. They were the first to hear of Jesus’ resurrection–and by an angelic visitation at that! The angel’s first words to them of “Do not be afraid” indicate he came in kindness to encourage. He did not come to frighten or terrorize. He knew they were looking for Jesus. Those who seek Jesus have no need to be fearful. The angel assures the women of Christ’s resurrection, encouraging them to go and examine the empty tomb. He reminds them this was just as our Lord had said. This was enough to silence their fears.
Take It to Heart
The angel ends his proclamation with the words, “Now I have told you,” indicating his mission is accomplished and now placed in the hands of those who will proclaim it to the world. He had completed his errand and faithfully delivered the message. Now it was their turn. Now it is ours.