Just As He Said
The women who had come to Jesus' tomb in the half light of early dawn were petrified by the appearance of a white and shining angel seated on the rolled-back stone covering the entrance to the burial cave. They thought their mission would be secret, nobody else would be present (Mark 16:1-3). They were shattered by the unexpected man who spoke about Jesus being alive.
One of the most frequent Divine instructions in the Bible is, 'Do not fear' (Joshua 1:9). That is so gracious. Any encounter with the Holy God is awesome and, if we are not covered with Christ's blood, we properly fear judgement. Fear is, of course, a general response to anything that threatens our life, security or friendships. The anticipation of 'things going wrong' or punishment causes fear (1 John 4:18). But the presence of God or His special messengers will threaten us even more than our circumstances, unless we know that we are saved from 'the wrath to come'. That was a comfort yet to come for these women.
The angel showed that he knew their intentions (even though they had not spoken), and all about Jesus' whereabouts (which was more than they knew). He invited them to see the empty burial chamber, and reminded them of Jesus' last instructions as to where He would meet them (Mark 14:28). God's messenger even knew about Peter's feelings of desperation after his spectacular failure and made sure he got a special mention in the message. The key to the future for them all did not lie in their hopes (they had none about seeing Jesus alive again), nor in their ability to 'move on and start again' (they simply did not want to do that), but in the words of Jesus.
Our feeble emotional resources are often battered and our only hope lies in the Word of God (Psalm 119:147). The God who knows us, keeps speaking to us through His Word interpreted by His Spirit. If we did not have the objective reality of God's written words on physical paper (or digital marks on computer screens), we may fear all sorts of things needlessly. Not that fear is not natural, but the peace of God is supernatural: it controls our emotions and steadies our minds (Philippians 4:7). Above all, Jesus assures us that He is alive and well able to deal with everything: and that He is our friend!
© Dr Paul Adams