But They Did Not Believe

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened. (Luke 24:9-12)

Hurrying away from the tomb, astonished, amazed, bewildered, and afraid, yet all the while filled with joy, these women experienced the entire range of emotions. They had a story to tell the disciples and they were ready to tell it in reverential fear. I think it was wonderful of God to allow these female followers to be the first ones to bring the good news of His story. While I realize this is not true in every case, and I am certainly not meaning any offense, women in general are better in giving the details of a story than men. We enjoy hearing and telling all the little particulars–all the nuances to every detail. They had just experienced the supernatural and they were stunned. Mark tells us in his gospel:

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (Mark 16:8)

The word translated “bewildered” is from the Greek word ekstasis meaning: “Astonishment, amazement, bewilderment; it is a sense of breathtaking and profound amazement coupled with exquisite dread at the sight of something remarkable, incredible, strange, or supernatural; the gripping fascination with some enthralling phenomenon which drives one from his powers of reason in order to encounter it; the word portrays someone as being carried away out of mind, being so psychologically and emotionally moved by some fantastic sight that he loses all sense of his present situation. He is held captive by it and falls under its sway because it is beyond his power to impose rational controls on the object of wonder”
(Hebrew Greek Key Word Study Bible New Testament Lexical Aids).

Unfortunately, the report the women gave was not well received. Rather it seemed to the disciples as idle talk and sheer nonsense.

“They thought it was only the fancy of the women, and ascribed it to the power of imagination; for they also had forgotten Christ’s words. One cannot but be amazed at the stupidity of these disciples–who had themselves so often professed that they believed Christ to be the Son of God, had been so often told that he must die and rise again, and then enter into his glory, had seen him more than once raise the dead–that they should be so slow to believe.” (Matthew Henry)

Slow to believe. Is it not amazing, when the day is cloudy and dark, how forgetful we become of the obvious? Fully not comprehending the Master’s plan, Peter leaves the tomb scratching his head and wondering. Who would have just stolen the body and not the grave clothes–not to mention leaving them folded so neatly behind? Who moved the stone and chased away the powerful Roman guards?

Take It to Heart

I find comfort in the disciple’s confusion. If Peter and John, who had both walked so closely with Jesus, could be baffled on that dark day, then my confusion seems understandable as well. It is easy to believe in Jesus when the day is bright, but let the winds and rain clouds come and it is quite another story. We are then often left wondering and baffled and forgetful of the promises of our Lord.

Having a firm grasp of God’s Word is monumental, especially when the storms of life begin to blow. That is how we are able to rest secure in Him … and that is His desire for all of His children.

“Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
(1 Corinthians 16:13)

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

“Now is the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as He built the heavens and the earth, glorify Himself in thy weakness, and magnify His might in the midst of thy distress.” (Charles H. Spurgeon)