Skydiving. It’s exhilarating and scary all at the same time. That’s what the Bible means when it says that the women fled Jesus’ tomb “afraid yet filled with joy” (Matthew 28:8). Like they were jumping out of a plane for the first time. Exhilarating. Thrilling. A bit scary. Adventure.
The angel at the tomb had just told them, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead…’” (Matthew 28:5-7). Four things jump off the page here.
“Do not be afraid.” Faith doesn’t paralyze us. Lots of times we think that if we believe, if we trust in Jesus, that it’ll ruin our fun, it’s too risky, we won’t be in control, etc. but faith doesn’t paralyze us, it equips us for something bigger. Fear paralyzes us. Stop being afraid. Stop withdrawing and hiding. Stop pretending to be someone you’re not.
Jesus “was crucified.” Was. Crucified. It’s over. The crucifixion, the suffering from God’s justice and anger because of sin, the ugly power of guilt, it was real, it all thundered down on Jesus, but it is finished. A holy God hates sin, but he hated it all once in his Son. Now he’s done. He loves you very much.
Jesus “is not here.” What matters now, what “is” right now, what is true about Jesus and will remain true, is that he is risen. He lives! Jesus has power over your life and death, power over your sin and shame, power over the lies and fear, power over mistakes and doctor’s misdiagnoses and marriage troubles. None of it has a say in your life. No circumstances should scare you because Jesus lives. Circumstances should not define you. Jesus’ resurrection does.
“Go.” Easter is more than a church celebration. It’s a call that changes your life. Yours sins can’t stop you. Your shame can’t hold you back like a ball and chain. Your fears are unfounded lies; they’re not real. The resurrection changes everything.
Remember the moment you learned to ride a bike? Big grin. Maybe a couple of scraped elbows. But once you did it, you had to do it some more. Why? Because at first you couldn’t believe you did it, but then fear gives way to freedom. You have an adventure waiting for you out there—but really in here. In your heart. The resurrection of Jesus changes you. It makes you faith-filled and faithful, courageous, going where Jesus dispatches you, and telling others about this awesome Easter adventure. Go! Live! But first, believe!