November 2: The Greatest Hope

Read Matthew 28:1-9 and John 20:1

Dawn means “becoming day.” It is the hope of a new day when the sun is still below the horizon.

Mary Magdalene got out of bed before dawn on Resurrection Sunday to go to the tomb where Jesus’ body lay. She went to anoint the body. A devoted follower of Jesus, she had followed the body of Jesus to the grave two days before. It was now the third day. She didn’t know she’d be the first to see the risen Christ.

The “other Mary” joined her. This Mary had served Jesus in Galilee and had been at the cross when He died. She too had witnessed His body’s burial. (See Lk. 8:2-3; Mt. 27:56.)

Although seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes had already been used that Friday when Christ died (likely early April, A.D. 33), these women brought even more spices that Sunday morning. It was a custom of the day to prepare the dead by anointing the body this way. But even more, it was an act of devotion and love. (See Mk. 14:8.)  Maybe it would help ease their grief a bit to be there at the tomb.

As they approached the tomb sometime between darkness and sunrise, no doubt these women felt hopeless. Jesus was dead. The physical darkness mirrored the emotional darkness. But dawn was coming in both respects.

When they finally arrived at the tomb that Easter morning, though, His body was gone. The tomb in which they’d seen Jesus’ dead body laying was empty. That’s when they ran to tell Peter and John then ran back to the tomb. (I wonder if they wore New Balance shoes.) This time they went in to see for themselves.

We cannot deny the part of this story that is the hope of a new day when dawn breaks. It’s something you and I can experience every day. The hope of a new day of love, joy and peace.

But this story is more than a new day’s dawn and the hope it brings. Jesus Christ rose up from death! The earth quaked, and angel rolled away the stone that covered up the tomb, and the greatest words in history were spoken to Mary and Mary right there in that garden. “He has risen.”

“He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee.” Matthew wrote that they were afraid and now full of joy.

It’s the greatest example of hope we can find. Something I need to understand, something I need to remember and focus on. There can be no greater hope and no greater love than the resurrected Jesus and His Spirit that can fill my life today.

Jim Croegaert wrote the song Sandi Patty sang.

Was it a morning like this? When the Son still hid from Jerusalem, and Mary rose from her bed, to tend to the Lord she thought was dead.

It’s a song of hope. Along with faith and love, hope is an essential characteristic of the Christian. The biblical concept of hope is not mere expectation and desire, as it is in Greek literature. Real hope includes trust, confidence and refuge in the God of hope. (See Rom. 15:13.)

Christ Jesus and His resurrection is real hope. He is our hope. (See 1 Tim. 1:1.)

written by Tom Weckesser



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