‘Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed’. These words are declared by congregations of Christians throughout the world on Easter Sunday morning. However, they are not just words that confirm a historical event, but a truth that changes our future.
In the Bible passage below, there are 2 important facts that help us see that Jesus is very much alive!
- He is ‘missing’ from the tomb
- He is present with His people
READ: John 20:1-18
Have you ever had an encounter with someone that changed your life?
You have just read the account of Mary being the first person to encounter the Risen Lord. Mary’s initial meeting with Jesus was a radical life-changing experience. Her life had been one of oppression until she met Jesus who had delivered her from ‘seven demons’ (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2). Following this encounter, Mary became a devoted and prominent follower of Jesus; that was until her world was shattered by the events of Good Friday! But because Jesus is now very much alive, everyone who has an encounter with Him can come alive too. Because Jesus is alive, we can really live and to ‘really live’ means that we are free from:
- The POWER of Darkness – John 20:1. It seemed for Mary that darkness had triumphed over light. Mary set out ‘early… while it was still dark’, yet by the time she gets to the tomb it was ‘after sunrise’ (Mark 16:2). A new day had dawned and the light had come! The Risen Lord said of himself, ‘I am the LIGHT of the World, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life(John 8:12).
- The FEAR of Death – Easter provides the ultimate promise that life has overcome death. Physical death is something that none of us can avoid, but the Easter message reassures us that it is something that need not be feared and more importantly, in this life we can start to enjoy real life, eternal life, love, joy, and peace on the inside. Forgiveness for our past and a hope for our future. (John 11:25-26).
- The GRIP of Despair – Statistics show that 1 in 4 Britons will suffer some form of mental illness from acute anxiety through to depression. In our current situation we are becoming increasingly aware of the severe mental and emotional pressures that some are struggling with, but Mary’s encounter with the Risen Lord shows that the love of Jesus can overcome all despair. When Jesus called her name, it was as if her darkness went, her fear of death went and her despair also went. Jesus knows each of us by name and through His Spirit wants to speak into our lives, and when we listen and take on board what he is saying to us, everything changes!
Jesus, thank you that you are the light of the world and I take hold of the promise that I never have to walk in darkness when I am following you. Thank you that you have brought me out of darkness into Your wonderful light. Thank you for dying for me; I rejoice that death could not overcome you and that you rose again and I can know your presence with me each day. Help me each day to stay close to You. Amen.