Last week was Holy Week, and Easter Sunday is behind us for another year. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop thinking about new life. It actually is a great reason why we should START thinking about it more.
In Matthew 28, we read about the day when Mary Magdalene and Mary went to the tomb of Jesus, only to find something completely different than they expected. Rather than finding death, they discovered the reality of new life.
2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. 3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. 4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.
5 Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. 7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”
8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. 9 And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
Let’s unpack the key points of this familiar passage with respect to how it relates to this week’s video teaching and where we are in the book.
1 – Notice the guards passed out with fear and were laying there like dead men? Yet, the women stood there in awe, completely coherent enough to speak with an angel. Ever wondered why that is? I wonder if it’s because they already knew that Jesus was the Savior, that He promised to return, that He offered hope, and that He was the answer to peace. The guards had no belief in Jesus, in fact, they had played a role in killing Him. They had no peace and hope. Only fear. These women had strength to face the unknown, because of their faith alone.
2 – The angel encouraged Mary and Mary not be afraid of new life. Jesus had been resurrected, and that was nothing to be afraid of. New life should bring immense joy and hope – whether it is the resurrection of Jesus, or the resurrection of our own hearts because of Jesus.
3 – The angel said “come see”. This angel of God knew these ladies were human, and would want evidence that Jesus was really risen. It gave them permission to see the reality of new life. It wanted them to witness first hand that death had been defeated, and despite all that had happened to Jesus, evil had not won. Don’t we often want to see with our own eyes that what Jesus promises is true? That He CAN have victory over evil? Especially when it comes to evidence of His grace, redemption and power in our own life and our own struggles?
4 – Then the angel said “go quickly and tell”. I can only imagine that Mary and Mary wanted to bow down and worship the ground where Jesus had risen from the dead. That they wanted to fall on their faces in awe of the resurrection and the new life they were the first to know about. Yet, the angel said not only to go, but go quickly. Might this be considered a precedence of what we are to do when we experience new life? I remember how thankful I was when I knew Jesus had transformed my heart, and all I wanted to do was be filled with gratitude and let Jesus continue to work in my heart. But He wanted me to “go and share”, not hide my transformation and new life behind a mask. I’m sure He would have preferred I had done it quickly, but He is a patient Savior.
You see, these women were given the greatest testimony to share that was ever told, because of their experience with Jesus. They didn’t just hear about the resurrection and the empty tomb, they lived it. They witnessed death becoming life, and as a result, they were reassured that because they belonged to Christ, they were assured new life too. And so are we, plus, we also have a great story to tell about our new life in Jesus too.
- We can have strength to face the unknown, because Jesus is life and offers life.
- We can have have hope, peace, and purpose, because Jesus is life and offers life.
- We can embrace new life, and believe we are new creations in Him, despite the past, because Jesus is life and offers life.
- We are called to go quickly and tell, and not to waste time sharing the evidence of the power of Jesus, because Jesus is life and offers life.
In Him, we can do all those things, when we choose to embrace that the old us is gone, and the new us has begun. The old life is over, and new life has begun. We all have a story to tell because He is new life, and gave us new life in Him. Just like Mary and Mary, might we have the inner strength because of our faith to face the unknown without fear, but instead with reverent awe and trust, and to excitedly and quickly go and tell all how we too are a new creation with new life, because of Him?
Write the questions below in your journal or study guide, and answer them honestly. Don’t worry about being real with your answers, because this activity is for your eyes only, and God already knows anyway. We don’t need to wear a mask with God, and when we realize that, He will give us the power to take that masks off once and for all.
* Have I been thankful for God’s spiritual healing, but hesitant to share what He has done in my life? What is preventing me from really stepping out in faith, and from going quickly? (For example, is it the fear of removing a mask and being real with myself, others and God? Is it because I’m simply afraid of the unknown? Is it because I’m still struggling to believe God could really love me and use me? Is it hard for me to trust God considering all that’s happened in my life? Is it possibly due to thinking that I truly have no hidden potential or purpose in life?)
* In what ways have I become an overcomer and found victory in Christ? How could I share that with others to impact their lives?
* If I’m honest with myself, what hidden potential might be tucked into my heart that I haven’t been willing to embrace yet?
* How might my life change if I truly accepted that I am a new creation in Christ, and the old is gone completely?
Finish your journal time with a prayer to God. Whatever comes to mind, write it down. Just be real, and let God do His work in you. Then be still and listen. Maybe for a few minutes, an hour, or for several weeks. When we listen and are primed to hear God’s voice, we will hear Him eventually. And when we do, new life can truly begin.
Today’s giveaway will be two great books, to two lucky winners! One book will help you discover even more courage to share your story, and the other will help you foster quiet time and a prayer life with Jesus. Click on the book covers to purchase the book today if you want to secure your copy. To enter to win a free copy, answer the below question in a comment (email replies will not qualify). Winners announced on Friday!
How will the promise of being a new creation with new life, impact you starting today and in the years to come?