There are some moments we never fully understand until they pass us by. Some moments, some conversations, are just too much to fully grasp in the present. We respond the best we can and wring out the full understanding when we watch the mental replay.
Motherhood is especially ripe with these moments. As intentional and proactive as we are, sometimes the inherent beauty of a 4-year-old who needs his mama, an 8-year-old choosing courage, a 13-year-old showing genuine empathy, is only understood in retrospect. We hang on to those moments, savoring them, even as the next ones are rolling out right before us.
I have to imagine the women in Matthew chapter 28 found themselves smack in the midst of one of those moments.
A few days earlier they witnessed the unbearably brutal murder of their savior. The weight of their loss was incredible. Their grief fresh, raw, they sought to be near him, near his tomb, even in death.
But as the women approached the tomb there was an earthquake. The guards “became like dead men” while an angel explained to the women that their Lord has risen.
Even after reading through the events countless times, I struggle to understand the magnitude of it all. But can you imagine the women staring at an empty tomb, trying to take this all in, in real time?
In their mix of fear and joy, they go quickly, obeying the angel’s instruction to share the news with the disciples. And Jesus meets them on the way.
Jesus met them, saying “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Matthew 28:9-10
A Beautiful Response to an Empty Tomb
I’ve tried a dozen times to imagine what those women felt like, receiving those words from Christ. How can you even begin to understand, to respond, to a conversation like that?
But their immediate response is beautiful. They fell at his feet and worshiped.
In the aftermath of Easter, when our homes may still be littered with colored eggs, on an average week when the celebration is over and we’re pilfering leftover candy from our children’s baskets, what does it mean to live from the truth of an empty tomb?