Thursday, March 29
Don’t Just Sit There
My reaction time often leaves something to be desired. For example, when Ben was a baby we lived in Southern New Jersey. Hayley’s mom would travel from Grand Rapids to come and help care for her grandson. On one occasion I got home and Joann was holding Ben, who was sick, and had just eaten. As Joann and I visited, suddenly Ben vomited all over her. Her shirt was covered. I didn’t move or speak, frozen into inaction and silence by the disgusting spectacle in front of me. Finally, my puke-soaked mother-in-law jolted me out of my stupor, “DON’T JUST SIT THERE!”
The ladies coming to the tomb of Jesus on that Sunday morning were in for a jolt as well. They find the tomb of their Lord open, and an angel sitting inside. He tells them that Jesus has risen, and encourages them to look at the place where He was laid. Before they can look too long, though, he assigns them a task, beginning with an important word: “BUT”. This isn’t just an incidental conjunction. It is meant as an “emphatic marker of contrast”, a sharp turn from what comes before. The women are not allowed to just stand and gape at the empty tomb. The angel says, Go from here, and tell. Tell his disciples, who ran away when the crowd came to arrest Him, that He is risen. Tell Peter, who denied Jesus to save his own skin, that death has not had the last word because the Lord has defeated it.
This coming Sunday we will rejoice together in the resurrection. We’ll gaze again at the empty tomb, the symbol of our freedom and hope. We’ll sing praise to our victorious King. From that place of gathered worship though, hear the angel’s assignment, scattering us into our world. “Yes, see that He is risen…BUT go and tell.” “Don’t just sit there!” We’re called to bear witness to those who need to hear.
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!