Can You Hear Him?
Matthew 28:2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the
Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone
and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were
white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and
became like dead men. 5 The angel said to the women, "Do not be
afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place
where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: `He has risen
from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see
him.' Now I have told you." 8 So the women hurried away from the
tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9
Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to
him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them,
"Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there
they will see me." (NIV)
He is alive. He is risen. He is really, really, really, alive!
The tomb: Mark 15:21 - 41 "In the place where Jesus was
Crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no
one was ever laid" (NIV)
In 1881 a man named Christian Gordon, found at the west foot of the
"Skull Hill" or Golgotha, a "garden". He set a crew
of men digging, and under five feet of rubbish and garbage, he found a
tomb of Roman times, cut in a wall of solid rock, with a trench in front
of the tomb's entry where the stone rolled to the door. The tomb is a
room 14 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and 7 1/2 feet high. At the right, as
you enter, there are two graves, one next to the front wall, and one
next to the back wall. The graves are slightly lower than the floor of
the room, with a low dividing wall between. The tomb is large enough to
easily hold a group of women, and two angels, with an angel sitting at
the place where Jesus feet were, and another angel sitting where His
head was. The tomb shows no sign that it was ever used. There were no
In the tomb, during the night, how it happened we do not know, the
foundations of the universe moved. An angel rolled the stone away and
then sat on it. Sort of a statement, if you think about it. Sort of a
victory statement, if you think deeply about the symbolism of seeing
death defeated and being there to roll the stone away. The figure of the
angel was so terrifying to the guards, the guards were so frightened,
the guards appeared to be dead men. Have you ever heard the expression,
"Almost scared to death?"
In surveying this scene, one must reflect on the power of Christ's
ministry, because why would the Roman's need to guard a tomb? Perhaps
the Roman's were afraid of an uprising as a result of a stolen body and
claims Christ was still alive. Anyway, the guards, upon regaining
whatever composure they had left, ran and told the Jewish leaders what
they had seen. The guards were then given money to keep their mouths
shut. Things have not changed in two thousand years, have they?
We can speculate today about the power that resurrected Jesus. Was
there a giant beam of power from the sky or was there just a soft and
quiet touch from God for his beloved Son. Most likely, it was the soft
and quiet touch.
We know there was an earthquake. This earthquake was no ordinary
earthquake for this quake shook the universe.
What may have happened is one angel rolled the stone away. Then the
Hand of God, Christ's Father, touched Him, and Jesus opened His eyes. In
the series of events, Christ's body was unwrapped. We do not know
whether the angels unwrapped His body or whether Christ did the
One of the more profound meanings of Christ's life is found in what
Jesus did and did not do after He came back. What did He do? Did Jesus
seek revenge? Did Jesus take over the world as a maximum leader? Did
Jesus raise an army and drive out the Romans by force? Did Jesus call
down the angels from heaven to vanquish the people who crucified Him?
Did Jesus use His ultimate power and His invincible nature to even the
score? No. He did not do any of these things, for He is love.
John 20:10 Then the disciples went back to their homes, 11 but
Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look
into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body
had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 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. 15 "Woman," he
said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried
him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him." 16
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out
in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said,
"Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.
Go instead to my brothers and tell them, `I am returning to my Father
and your Father, to my God and your God.' " 18 Mary Magdalene went
to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And
she told them that he had said these things to her. (NIV)
The resurrection scene is also a scene carrying a message about Mary.
On the surface, the above scene is just about Mary and Jesus. However,
Mary is not the only person Jesus is addressing in this most glorious of
events. For Jesus, through His precious word of scripture, is also
talking to you.
Mary was alone at the tomb weeping. She had not heard or understood
from the angels that He was alive. Perhaps even seeing angels had not
calmed her in her grief. Jesus stood by Mary in her pain, He also stands
by you in your pain. Jesus emerged from the tomb the same as He was
before his death except He carried the scars and wounds of the torture
Jesus came from the tomb, not as an invincible human determined to
show the world who was in control by seeking revenge. Jesus came from
the tomb as the same soft, tender, compassionate man, full of grace,
full of truth, and full of love we know Him to be before He was
The darkest hour is just before dawn. In Mary's darkest hour, there
must have been a stillness in the air like the stillness before a storm
or an earthquake. Mary loved Him. Mary had been delivered of evil
spirits and demons and had found in Jesus a love so wonderful and so
accepting His love changed her life. She was crying from the grief she
bore. She thought He had died, and then she thought someone had stolen
his body. Mary had been there at the foot of the cross, and had been
with Him through all of his agony. She had been there when they took
Christ's body down, and had helped prepare Him for burial. She had seen
Him suffer, seen Him die, and had been with Him through the last days of
His ministry. He carried all our sins to the Cross three days before
this moment of so much stillness in the air. Three days before this
moment, there had been, for Christ, unspeakable torment, agony, and pain
suffered for each of us. Jesus had died on the Cross from a broken
heart, yet He came back to minister to Mary and to you.
When Jesus called her name...shock, amazement, and love abounded in
her heart. There is another name not written in your Bible. There is
another name Jesus called that morning. The other name called that
morning is your name…not a name like yours…not a name spelled like
your name, but your own personal name.
Your name is not written in your scripture, but He still calls you.
He is next to you, just like He was next to Mary on that first Easter.
He is alive for you, He is calling you. Some of you who read these words
have tried to always work things out on your own. Some of you have
always been responsible and tried to take control of your life. However,
there are some things in life you cannot control. Mary was a responsible
person, involved in a situation she could not control. Jesus came to
her. Wherever you are at this moment, Jesus is there with you. Can you
hear Him calling you?
Perhaps some of you were followers of Jesus but have somehow lost
Him. And, like Mary, you stand grieving because He is gone from your
life. However, He is not gone from your life. Christ is with you today.
He is calling your name. Can you hear Him?
I know some of you have been searching for Him, looking for Him in
all kinds of ways and in many places...just like Mary. I know you have
seen Jesus and you have heard Him speak, just like Mary. And, just like
Mary, you just have not recognized Him. Jesus is with you today just as
surely as He was with Mary. Can you see Him? Can you hear Him?
Some of you have been fighting your way through all kinds of trouble
and problems and you know Jesus exists somewhere. Perhaps you think
Jesus is only in Heaven with God. Sometimes our grief gets so big, the
pain gets so bad, the trouble gets so overwhelming, we become blind.
Just like Mary, we see Him but do not recognize Him. We forget He is
with us. He is sitting right next to you today. Can you hear Him? Can
you feel his presence in your life? Can you feel his healing power upon
your trouble and problems?
Perhaps you have not openly rebelled against Jesus. It is just so
hard to keep our heads above water these days we get pre-occupied. What
with financial problems, health problems, family problems, job problems,
worries of every kind...we ignore Him. Can you hear Him today? He is
calling your name. He is calling your own personal name.
Perhaps you keep listening for God's voice but He doesn't really
speak out loud to you. Sometimes it seems as if He isn't really alive or
real after all...that's because our own voice and our thoughts are
yelling and screaming so loud His voice within our hearts cannot be
heard. If you listen, you can hear His voice today. Can you hear Him?
When you read the Bible, you read words written long ago, by people
you do not know, who are writing to someone other than you…so it
seems. However, the Bible is God's personal word to you. The Bible is
His personal letter to you. The Bible is a letter of love, of caring,
and of compassion, written just to you. Can you hear Him today?
His death, His agony, His pain, His coming back, mean you can have
eternal life if you are sorry for always wanting your own way, and sorry
for always putting yourself first. If you are truly sorry for turning
away from Him, turn back to Him. He is calling you. If you truly listen
to Him and you hear Him, then He is as real to you as He was to Mary.
Mary's heart was right. Mary so desperately wanted to find Him without
even knowing He was alive. Can you hear Him?
Sometimes you get lost and don't know which way to turn. Sometimes it
seems that Jesus is dead and you don't know where to find Him…just
like Mary. But He is alive, He is risen, He is real, and He is there
where you are today. Can you hear Him?
Christ came to this earth just for you. He came to stand by you in
your darkest hour, in your worst grief, in your worst pain. He came so
you will never die and so you will live with Him in heaven forever and
ever. He came so you could know God in a personal way through Him. Jesus
is calling you. Can you hear Him?
If you want to find Him, if you want Him in your life, look up and
see Him standing next to you...for His IS next to you. Come to Him this
minute. He is calling your name. Can you hear Him? Every name that hears
the word of the Lord can hear the Lord say their name as Mary heard her
name. Every person hearing Him can receive everlasting life, and hope,
and joy, just as Mary received them. Mary's name and your name are
written in the Lamb's book of life. The tomb is empty. The stone is
rolled away. He is alive and with you this day.
He is calling you to turn back, to come home, to stop fighting within
yourself. When we hear Him we want to reach out to Him like Mary did.
Your life and my life killed Him on the Cross. On the Cross, He took all
the blame for everything we have ever done, and then when we are so
alone, and we are looking for Him, He calls our name.
If you have not committed your life to Him, if you have not given all
that you are to Him, and you want Him as your Lord and savior…if you
want Him to be real to you...if you want to find Him again, I want you
to put your hand over your heart this minute. With your hand over your
heart, tell Him you are sorry for the life you have lived. Then reach
out to Him and touch His outstretched hand. Accept Him into your heart
and life. Tell Him you love Him and you accept Him.
Precious Lord Jesus, call again to this reader. Reach out again to
this reader's heart. No matter what the circumstances might be, reach
through those circumstances and touch this person so they will hear you
calling their name. Amen.