Resurrection Has Come!

Mary Magdalene stood on Golgotha surrounded by other women who were weeping and crying.  Her own face was distorted with agony and sorrow.  John was at the foot of the cross; Peter was lost in the crowd somewhere. “It can’t be,” she murmured softly. “It’s just not possible—we followed Him for such glory and splendor.”

Only days before Jesus had visited the home of Mary and her sister Martha.  Mary reflected on happier days. “We knew Him as a dear friend,” she thought. “If we needed bread, there was bread. The crowds were following Him and exalting Him—so anxious to see the next miracle. I remember the time He looked at me with such tenderness and I fell at His feet, bathing His feet with my tears and drying them with my hair.  He cleansed me from my sinful life…all my confidence was in Him. And now they have killed Him.”

Mary thought back to those days in Bethany when she sat at His feet worshipping and praising Him, while Martha bustled about preparing the meal. Jesus had lovingly rebuked her sister and said, “Martha, you’re too busy about too much. Slow down a little bit and sit at my feet with Mary.” There was so much to learn from Him!

Standing on that darkened hillside outside Jerusalem, Mary remembered the terrible day when they had waited for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus, their brother. They had sent a message: “Master, the one you love is ill.” They were waiting and watching, knowing He would come. But Lazarus drew his last breath, and Jesus was not there. Mary had worshiped Him and followed Him, but in the moment of crisis she thought, “Jesus if only You had come, my brother would not have died.”

Have you ever had that happen in your life? Have you ever resented God, thinking He was too late? Have you ever trusted God for something, and then had it look as though everything was lost because you had counted on Jesus?

Now we have a situation here: Mary was a worshiper; Martha was a worker; Lazarus was dead. And Mary and Martha are grieving because Jesus didn’t do it their way. When word finally comes that Jesus is on the way, Martha leaves the house and runs to meet Him.  She said, “Master, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And then she made a great faith statement.

She said, “And even now, I know that whatever You ask from God He will grant it to you” (John 11:21-22, Amplified Version).  Yes, Martha was a faith person in spite of her busy-ness!  Jesus assured Martha her brother would live again. Martha said, “I know that he will rise again at the resurrection in the last day” (verse 24).

Jesus is now making His own declaration and sealing His own death warrant by the deed He is about to perform. No man could snatch His life from Him, but He chose to lay down His life for us. And in the next statement to Martha, He is already looking ahead to the Resurrection!

Jesus said, “I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in—adheres to, trusts in and relies on—Me, although he may die, yet he shall live.  And whoever continues to live and believes—has faith in, cleaves to and relies—on Me shall never die at all. Do you believe this? She said to Him, Yes, Lord, I do believe that You are the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of God Who was to come into the world” (verses 25-27).

Martha made no further comment.  Her faith took hold of His confession of who He was.  She never questioned Him; she went to get her sister, Mary, who was still weeping and pitying herself.  Martha went to her privately and whispered, “Mary…the Teacher is close at hand and is asking for you” (verse 28).  [Did you know He doesn’t get mad at you even when you say “It will work for someone else but it won’t work for me”?]

Mary jumped up and ran out to meet Him and fell at His feet sobbing. When Jesus saw Mary and the others with her weeping, He was deeply disturbed and He began to weep. I can imagine Mary on the day of the crucifixion thinking, “I didn’t understand why He wept at Lazarus’ tomb that day, but now, standing here at the cross, I wonder if He was crying for all humanity.”

As Mary stood weeping near Golgotha she heard Jesus say, “It is finished.” She thought, “Oh, my God, it’s finished. All is lost.”  Her hopelessness was like that of Betty, a woman I met in California.  Betty believed that God could heal; she went to a church that believed in healing. But she could not lay hold of healing for herself. After her child was born she developed an incurable kidney disease, the doctors could do nothing for her. One night in the shower she heard a crunching noise in her back, and she began to lose all the feeling in her body from her neck down.

Betty’s marriage was almost on the rocks because of her long illnesses, and her husband was not particularly sympathetic about her back problem.  The next day they went to church, although Betty was suffering anguish in her body and mind.  A woman at church noticed how she was suffering and said to her, “Betty, I want you to go to a chiropractor. I’ll pick you up in the morning.”

The next day in the chiropractor’s office, Betty was shocked to hear the doctor ask her, “Mrs. Watson, do you believe that God heals today?”

“Yes, of course,” she answered, stunned.

“I’m not going to treat you,” the doctor said. “I’m going to believe God for your healing. Come back tomorrow morning.”

Her friend took her back the next day.  After a lengthy wait in the examining room, the doctor came in and said, “Mrs. Watson, I’m not going to treat you. But as you leave I want you to tell the people out in the waiting room that God heals and He is going to heal you.”

Betty was a bit aggravated, but she decided it was worth a try. As she passed through the waiting room she said in a feeble voice, “God heals today and He’s going to heal me.” Then her friends had to almost carry her to the car. That was the first time she had made that declaration of faith, but she was no better.

At home Betty said, “All right, if God’s healed me, I’ll just sit up and watch occupied, so they laid her on the doctor’s desk with her head hanging off the edge. Finally the doctor came in and said, “Mrs. Watson, I have a patient in the next room who is a missionary and she doesn’t believe in healing. She cannot move her neck and her head. I want you to come and pray for her.”

By this time Betty didn’t care any more. The doctor was peculiar—there’s no doubt about that. But she was ready to try anything. They helped her to her feet and almost carried her to the next room in her agony. She was almost totally paralyzed and still suffering with kidney disease and heart problems.

Betty laid hands on the missionary and prayed, “Be healed in the name of Jesus.” To her great surprise, the lady’s neck was instantly healed!  Then they helped her back to the doctor’s office and laid her on the desk again. The doctor said, “Mrs. Watson, I believe the Lord is ready to heal you today.” He touched her, and she told me she was immediately able to stand up unassisted. She said something like hot oil came over her from the top of her head to the soles of her feet, and as that happened she began to speak in another language.

As she spoke, the doctor gave the interpretation. The gist of the message was, “Satan has bound you long enough—I have set you free.  Resurrection has come.  Resurrection has come!”

That’s what Jesus spoke to Mary and Martha. “Resurrection has come!”  When Jesus stood before Lazarus’ tomb, He told those present to take away the stone—they had to exercise faith in His words. Then He cried, “Lazarus, come out!” (John I l:43).  Lazarus came out, and Mary instantly had her faith in Jesus restored. Never had there been a day like that day.

But now Jesus was on the cross. It seemed so hopeless. Disillusionment set in once again. An eerie silence covered the face of the earth; then suddenly there was an earthquake. As the earth shook, the veil in the temple that separated God from man was ripped open from top to bottom. God was breaking forth so that men and women could approach Him directly.

Mary did not understand the darkness of that hour, but on Resurrection Morning, she was the first one to whom Jesus appeared. He called her name, then told her to go and tell the glad news to the disciples. At last Mary understood what Jesus meant when He said, “Resurrection has come!”

1 Comment

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    Jean Fowler

    This is a great reminder that when things seem hopeless and impossible, “Resurrection has come!” When there are things we don’t understand and we face disappointments,”Resurrection has come!” When there is loss and grief, “Resurrection has come!”

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