When you live in a large family, you hide your chocolate.
You hide your Doritos, your raspberries, your Oreos, and maybe even your steak too, but you definitely hide your chocolate, because it matters most.
What do you love enough to hide…mostly from your children, maybe from your roommate, maybe from your labradoodle? What do you tuck away because it’s so good you really want to save it for yourself?
Sometimes I wonder if the Gospel is just so good, that we tend toward the same line of thinking.
It’s so good, we think we might just save it for ourselves.
I’m not saying that we are consciously thinking, “Self, don’t share the Gospel,” but I wonder how much of the devil’s tiny mind tricks play on our subconscious. There are probably many and various things keeping us from sharing Truth in Love with our neighbor, but maybe there’s even a tiny, tiny piece of us deep down that wonders if we share it, whether there will be enough. Will the grace run out? Will the specialness that God sees me with run out? And the more transparent questions —
What if I take it and do it wrong? What if I mess up the Gospel?
Will I run out of all that is good in me, if I open myself up to another person?
In Mark 16:5-8 we find out that the women who went to take spices to Jesus’ tomb might have had similar feelings
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
They were afraid. Fear does crazy things to us. We aren’t going to tackle the concept of fear today; instead, we’re going to look at how God treats fear, where He is in all our questions and our concerns of “not enough,” and try to move past holding all the good stuff close to us and instead spreading it out like wildfire.
Do you think the Gospel writer Mark put Mark 16:8 in there to shame the women, to let them know how they had failed? I don’t see that in keeping with the rest of the book and the honor brought to these women by sharing their stories of that first Easter morning at the empty tomb. Rather, the Holy Spirit decides what details are penned through the personalities and the particular witness of each Gospel writer.
What does 2 Peter 1:16-21 teach us about every word written in pages of those Gospel books and the rest of God’s Word?
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The Word is God’s, first and foremost. Notice 2 Peter 1:19 above again:
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts…
That Word is a Lamp in dark places.
Those dark places are sometimes someone else’s, but they are also our own.
Christ’s resurrection shines light into the darkness of our hearts and sees that we also have fear. I think that at least part of the reason God shares the full story with us of these women hiding the Gospel, keeping their mouths closed, trembling in shock, is because He wants us to know that He knows.
He knows our lack. He knows the Gospel can be intimidating at times—so big, so awesome that we don’t quite know what to do with it.
He knows that resurrection is intimately connected to death and that can make it uncomfortable.
He knows that we wonder about failing ourselves, our loved ones, our world.
He knows that sometimes things seem so far from restoration that we think it’s maybe not even worth trying.
He knows that sometimes the night seems longer than it should be and sometimes the plan seems confusing and not what we expected.
He knows that we are waiting and we have questions.
He knows we need to eat, sleep, and breathe Hope from sun up to sun down and we simply cannot live without it.
He knows that we are made to witness, but we need one another as witnesses, for strength, for perseverance, for insight, and for confidence.
He knows each of us. He died and rose for each of us.
That fact alone makes it uncontainable.
Just like the women at the tomb, we eventually find our fears and our concerns filled with faith. Sit quiet for just a moment and read Mark 16:6. Breathe in and breathe out the words to yourself aloud.
And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.
This is resurrection, my friend. This is the Word at work in you. Let it ease into your pores and bring new life to your soul.
He is risen.
That’s all you need share. Those three words. Next time your friend shares a struggle, take their hand and tell them, “He is risen. He rises. That’s Who He is. He takes dead things, decaying things, and brings life.” The next time you see something joyous, say it — “He is risen. He rises. That’s Who He is. He brings all the life, everywhere He goes.” Pray it over one another when the resurrection is hard to see and when the resurrection comes and transforms hearts and lives.
We will rise with Him, when He comes back for us.
One day, not too far and not too long away, we’ll say, “He is risen!” to His beautiful, glorious, uncontainable face. We will have hands to touch Him, heads to lean against Him, and mouths to let out peals of laughter with Him. Won’t that be the day? Oh, my.
In the meantime…He is risen is our anthem. He is risen is our banner. He is risen is our war cry. He is risen is our cheer.
Don’t stop looking for resurrection now, friends. When you see it, simply say —
He is risen, just like He said.