“Do not be afraid,” the angel told the women who had come to Jesus’ tomb.
But they were.
They were plenty of reasons to be afraid:
* the stone was rolled away and (they thought) it wasn’t supposed to be,
* it was early morning in a garden by a grave and the members of the elite Roman guard were shaking and doing their best impression of dead men,
* they thought robbers had vandalized the tomb of their beloved Teacher,
* Mary Magdalene had left them after she saw that things were not right at the tomb,
* there were beings from another world (angels) there,
* they weren’t sure what was going to happen next.
And the way it was with them is the way it is with us. We are fearful. We don’t care to admit it, it’s not flattering, but if honesty wins out over vanity, we have to admit that our approach to this thing called life has been greatly tempered by the thing known as fear.
Like the women, there are tombs in our lives that we are scared silly to walk into. Things we have deemed dead are buried inside them–the marriage existing only in appearance, the addiction unsuccessfully struggled against until all hope of overcoming has vanished, the guilt we carry from alarmingly misspent moments, and any other item you might think to add.
The list goes on.We’re all familiar with the all-too-familiar record of our personal shortcoming and dashed dreams. Just place them in the tomb with our other disappointments. Say a few words over them and seal them up so we don’t have to deal with them again. They are too much trouble, too much pain, and far too disabling. There are things that have been in there for years and we are deathly afraid of walking into the tomb and having to face them. There is no telling what we would find now. Whatever it is, we would rather live in fear of it than face it.
Our fear can keep us from seeing that the greatest thing we can fail to face is not in the tomb. It is the truth that our Father has shaken the earth, rolled away the stone, and brought life where there was death. But we’ll never know this if we don’t step inside the tomb. God invites us inside with four of His favorite words:
Do not be afraid!