We all know that we are facing some difficult times, not only in our community, but also as a nation. There are times when we may even begin to weep. You may have come upon someone who was weeping, and offered to help.
In our passage today, Mary was weeping at a grave, the gave of Jesus Christ. Many people weep at graves, so it is not uncommon to see people weeping at graves. Jesus even wept at the grave of Lazarus.
But Mary was weeping at an empty grave! The cross and its tears had passed, it was time to anoint the Body of Jesus for a proper burial. These women were weeping because they had found the tomb was empty. What they failed to realize, at that moment is, this was a time of joy, triumph, and victory, not tears. The empty tomb proved the deity of Jesus Christ!
Mary saw two angels, and was asked, "Why are you weeping?" (vv.12-13)
Mary wept because she believed the worst, that the Body of Jesus had been taken away. Perhaps Mary believed her enemies were more powerful than the Son of God. When we doubt the promises of God, we are over come by anxiety. Jesus promised He would rise from the dead;
Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." (NIV)
Mary believed she was alone, she doubted the presence of the Lord.
13 They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. (NIV)
Loneliness is a hard thing to bear, you may even be feeling lonely this morning. Jesus was there, but Mary did not realize it. Today, God is at work all around you, and perhaps you don't even realize it. The things that seem so tragic in your life, may actually be your greatest blessing! Christians are never truly alone;
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
No one or anything can separate us form God;
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
Another reason for Mary's weeping is she thought life was over. She would now doubt the purpose of the Lord for her life. Everything had been different since she met Jesus. She had finally found her purpose for living. Now that Jesus was gone, she thought her life was over.
But here's the good news! Jesus was there all the time! He was there when she doubted and despaired! He is with you today to speak to your doubts, and despairs. You may be gong through difficult times in your life right now, but God cares! The empty grave is proof that He cares!
Jesus spoke to Mary and dispelled her fears! (vv 15-17) Today, Jesus knows all your tears and fears, the Living Christ wants to give you peace and a purpose for living! You have been given a receipt stamped "PAID IN FULL"!
1 Corinthians 15:53-58
54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55 "Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
58 Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. (NIV)
Jesus spoke Mary's name, and He is speaking yours today. Do you hear His voice?
How can we be sure Christ was raised from the dead? He was seen by so many of His disciples and others, who would rather die for the truth than live for a lie. Now you can go tell somebody, that Jesus is alive!
Why are you weeping? Have you experienced the joy of your salvation? Maybe you believe the worst about yourself, or perhaps you feel you don't deserve God's blessings.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. (NIV)
Are you feeling alone, or going through tough times? You can make it, as you depend on God, allow Him to turn those tears, and fears into joy! It is possible because He lives!
("From the Pulpit" is a weekly sermon provided by the clergy members of The Weirton Ministerial Association)