Have you ever been reading along in scripture, and a seemingly unimportant phrase seems to jump off the page straight to your heart? It happened to me today.
Matthew 28 takes place just after Jesus has been crucified, and buried in the tomb. The women who so faithfully followed him, cared for him, and gave of their own finances to support him, went to the tomb where he had been laid. Most likely, they were there to prepare his body more fully for burial, since that had not happened before he was placed in the tomb. They brought spices and the other items with them that were used for a proper burial in that culture. When they arrived, there is a magnificent and beautiful angel of the Lord sitting on the stone that had previously closed up the tomb. Imagine this sight!
They’ve seen their beloved leader crucified. They have witnessed all the incredible events that took place immediately following his death, (the curtain torn in two from top to bottom, darkness falling on the land in the middle of the afternoon, an earthquake and so on) and as they approached the tomb with heavy hearts and possibly a little apprehension over what they knew would be a difficult task of preparing the body (which had already been in the tomb about a day and a half) for burial, they see the angel. I don’t know about you, but that would certainly stop me in my tracks!
Angels always say the same thing when they encounter humans…..”don’t be afraid”. Uh huh. Easier said than done! But he says it here. He then tells them that Jesus is no longer in the tomb, that He has risen from the dead. He reminds them that while Jesus was with them, He had told them that He would do this. So there they are, in shock and awe, and the angel invites them to “come and see the place where He lay”. To check it out for themselves, to prove the claim. After that they are to go quickly and tell his disciples.
And then it happens. That simple phrase. “So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy. Suddenly Jesus met them…”
Jesus met them. I love that. Right in the middle of their fear and confusion, He met them.
Jesus will meet us too. Right where we are, in the middle of fear and confusion. Or hurt and worry. Or questioning and doubt. Or distractions and business. He meets us.
So much of scripture is about God giving us opportunity for relationship with Him. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” He reached out first. It’s why He sent Jesus. It’s why Jesus left the Holy Spirit. God desires relationship, with us. And because He longs for His creation to love Him deeply, Jesus meets us.
Right where we are. Often on the road to someplace else. He interrupts our lives with His presence, and gives us an opportunity to stop our rushing and pushing, and just be with Him.
He meets us. He knows that we are prone to keep rushing, and pushing. That we are apt to stay wrapped up in our questioning and doubt. That we frequently, and often unknowingly, hold tight to our fear and confusion, because in a very simple way, that feels like we are “doing” something. Reality shows us that we are not actually “doing” anything, but the human mind can be tricky can’t it? We tell ourselves that by constantly thinking about, or being concerned over a situation, that we are helping. But we’re not. The only thing that really makes any kind of difference, is taking it to Him in prayer.
Philippians 4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
By surrendering our worries to His control, then and only then, can we have real and lasting peace. Most often, prayer does more to change our hearts than our circumstances. Therefore, bringing peace.
Jesus WILL meet you, on the road to someplace, right where you are. Will you see Him? Will you notice the ways that He is stepping into your path? Will you rush around Him determined to keep going under your own strength? Or will you stop for a visit, and allow Him to speak to your heart? I hope you will.
“But let the godly rejoice. Let them be glad in God’s presence. Let them be filled with joy.” Psalm 68:3
When Jesus meets us, we are in His presence, and we are filled with joy.
Meet with Jesus today. He will meet you, but you can arrange the meeting too. You’ll be glad you did.
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