all the rules
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. Matthew 28:1-4 NIV
So, it's Sunday, the first day of the week, and who goes to the tomb to check on Jesus? Why the Marys, of course. They had come to finish embalming his body, as they did not have time to do it properly, before the Sabbath began on Friday evening. I don't know what they were expecting to find. They must have thought about the stone at some point. It was much too large for one or two women to roll away. Perhaps they thought the guards would help...
As we read from Matthew's gospel account God provided.
A really big angel came down, and the ground shook, and the lightening flashed. The Roman guard, men who were used to walking where angels feared to tread, fell over and played dead.
The angel said to the women, "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 and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, Now I have told you." Matthew 28:5-7 NIV
So, angels had this way of popping in and out of the lives of people here on earth. Because they were generally described as large beings and because they sort of showed up out of nowhere, they often had to tell people not to be afraid, unless those people happened to be the Roman guard...
The angel was the bearer of good news! And he told the women, who did not faint, that Jesus was alive!!
"He is not here; he has risen, just as he said."
And then the angel did what angels do. He left. The message was delivered. His work was done. He was on to the next thing on his to do list.
And the women, well, they did what women do. They raced all the way back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples. The news was way too good to let someone else beat them too it!
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Matthew 28:8 NIV
So, this is the story; the Marys got up early, went to the tomb, weathered an earthquake, talked to an angel, and were the first to get the good news. Jesus was alive, just as he said!
Think of it this way. In first century Judea, women were given little thought or value; they were not to be believed or trusted, it was a man thing.
But Jesus the one who "broke the rules," many rules, according to the religious establishment (who all happened to be men), decided that the women should be first to know, that they should be the ones who would carry the news, of the Resurrection of the Son of God!!
And speaking of rules, Jesus broke a really big rule, He brought himself back from the dead!
Only God can do that!!
Jesus came into the world to die on a cross for our sins. Back in the Garden when Eve took the first bite of the apple, she set into motion God's plan to save us. It was a brilliant plan of course, but not easy. There were a lot of sins for Jesus to carry on that cross. But our Lord is ever gracious and full of mercy and love. He went willingly, bore our burdens and shame, and by his wounds we were and are healed.
Jesus gave us life instead of the death we deserved. This is called grace. And to sustain us, Jesus promises Living Water. This is the Holy Spirit who is poured out onto all believers...
"Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, "Rivers of living water will flow from his heart." (When he said "living water," he was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in him. But the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus had not yet entered into his glory.) John 7:38-39 NLT
White blossoms float languidly in the lily pond. Tadpoles and minnows teem underneath the dark surface, and frogs sit fat in the green rushes. We bring baskets of Easter flowers to decorate great grandma’s grave. We climb the hill to the old water pipe, tiptoe, and turn the knob. It creaks and begins to shake. Water splashes our upturned faces, fills our shoes, spills over our pails, soaking the ground beneath us. We dance in the puddles and slosh through the mud, dragging our pails behind us.
that peculiar scent
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
John 3:16 NIV
His grace, mercy, and peace be with you...
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Light haiku & photograph
by susan beth furst
previously published, Ekphrasis: The British Haiku Society Member's Anthology 2017
by susan beth furst
previously published, Under The Basho, March 2018
Susan Beth Furst is a poet, author, and sometime photographer. Her desire is to glorify God with the gifts he has given her.