Read Mark 16:1-7
The Easter story is recorded in all four Gospels, but each tells the story differently. It’s like learning about the contemporary crisis via Fox News, CNN, NBC and ABC. Each tells the story with a slightly different bias.
In Mark’s version, the women rise early on the first day of the week and take spices to anoint the (supposed) dead body of Jesus. On their way, they worry: who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb? Certainly, they’re not going to be able to do it. When they arrive, they find the stone, which is very large, has already been rolled away! The problem that they were worrying about has already been taken care of. God has been one step ahead of them! God has already provided a solution to their problem.
How many times do we worry about things that God has already handled? How will we get through the current pandemic? Rest assured, my friends, God has a solution. God knows our need. God is able to deal with this, and every other crisis we face in life.
When the women see the place where Jesus is supposed to be, and an angel sitting there instead, they become alarmed. Again, God is one step ahead of them! Instead of a dead body, they’re told that Jesus has been raised.
He is not here.
The angel tells the women that the risen Christ will meet them in Galilee. Galilee is their home. In other words, when they go back home, to the place where they live and work, Jesus will be there with them. Not only will Jesus be with them, the angel says that the risen Christ will “go ahead” of them. (Mark 16:7)
This verse underscores a central truth of the Christian faith:
Jesus is always ahead of his faithful followers.
His mind is quicker; his vision larger; his spirit more adventuresome; his convictions more sure; his courage more firm.
Easter challenges us to move forward. We have the assurance of the Scriptures and the record of the faithful down through the centuries that Christ will be with us in the future, just as he has accompanied thousands upon thousands in the past. Wherever he calls us, we do not go alone.
Not only is Christ with us, he goes ahead of us. The Risen Christ is on the scene before any of us arrives! We need not fear the future, even death, for the risen Christ has already gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us.
What’s our future as individuals and at Lakeside Chautauqua? What’s next for us amid this crisis as a nation, a world community? Whatever it is, Jesus is with us, and he will go ahead of us. Thanks be to God!
Rev. Dr. Charles Yoost,
Director of Religious Life