I’m still on an Easter high! Overwhelmed is not even the right word for me to describe what God is doing in my life right now. I am proud to say that I’m in the process of God restoring me and working in me (it’s not a pretty process, but it does have quite interesting stories to tell)
And if you allow me, I have this message in my heart that I really want to share with you, and it’s about a huge stone, and an empty tomb.
It’s only gonna take 15 minutes of your time, but if you read every word carefully, you just might hear what you need to hear today.
16 Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
Wow. I get shivers every time I read this.
I was reflecting about it just a few days ago.
You have to understand:
Mary Magdelene was the girl bestfriend of Jesus. Mary would always pour her heart out onto Jesus. You know that guy who you know who will always be there for you? Like, no drama. Just a listener. That’s Jesus. (That’s actually how He is to everyone, anyway)
And man. He was crucified.
I bet you if I was Mary, I would have been thinking to myself . . . “Jesus said He was God and everything right . . . any minute now . . . He’s gonna send the armies of heaven and Elijah and Moses and stuff and He’s gonna go down from that cross and He’s gonna whoop the butts of the Roman empire and yeah”
But nope. She watched how without any resistance He was dragged all the way to His grave. She watched how the very crowd that followed Jesus turn around and betray Him. She watched each nail drive into His wrist. She watched Him die.
I think very few things in the world could be worse than watching someone you love die in front of you.
Mary probably didn’t understand a thing about what was happening. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” If he said that, then where was He now?
I can’t even begin to imagine how devastated Mary was.
But what she didn’t realise was that God actually had something greater planned ahead.
I’m 100% sure Jesus didn’t want Mary to feel devastated. I’m sure it hurt Jesus to watch her suffer and doubt and be ridiculed and shamed.
But Jesus loved her so much . . . so much to the point that He was willing to allow that to happen, so that she, and everyone could experience something beyond contentment.
He wanted her to experience a resurrection, yes a literal one, and at the same time, a symbolic one: a personal resurrection in her life.
Jesus wanted her to experience what it truly means to be loved.
Even if it meant leaving Mary confused. Even if meant letting Mary get hurt. Even if it meant dying on the cross. But that wasn’t going to be the end of it.
So to continue the story . . .
Mary was mourning.
He was gone.
Many stopped believing in Him. Many stopped hoping that Jesus was the one who was going to save Israel.
But Mary wouldn’t let go of her faith in Him, even if seemed like everything was lost.
And so she and some other friends of Jesus wanted to pay their final respects.
They bought some burial spices early in the morning, and decided to secretly visit Jesus’ tomb.
They heard that the tomb was in a garden, locked by a heavy stone.
And they were worried that they wouldn’t be able to enter.
Well, they were three Hebrew women. Pretty sure they weren’t body builders. Pretty sure they weren’t carrying some TNT with them. There was a literal boulder in the way. Man.
In fact, it literally says in the text, “On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that that text was included.
Even if this story happened more than 2000 years ago . . . I believe the underlying message has never been more relevant this 2017.
Right now, you might be going through such a huge struggle.
I don’t know what it is, but maybe you’re scared of the future. Maybe you’re scared of letting go. Maybe you’re going through a difficult time with your relationships, or with your family. Maybe you’re having trouble with school, with work. Maybe you’re trying to hide something that you did, or something that happened to you that was so sinful and so shameful.
But whatever that is, God knows what you’re going through, and He has it in control.
You may be worrying about that huge stone that’s blocking you.
That huge stone that is preventing you from moving ahead.
That huge stone that seems so impossible to roll away.
But here’s the thing.
The verse that comes right after, says this:
4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
It has already been rolled away.
Even before you get there, the stone has been rolled away.
Even before you face the problem, even before you realise there’s a problem, God already knows what you’re going to face, and He is with you each step of the way.
The stone has been rolled away.
I get shivers each time I hear that. Do you understand?
That thing you’re facing, that struggle, that depression, that rejection, that fear of yours, it has been rolled away.
God is in control.
We’re so funny sometimes, because even if we know that by heart, even if we know that God is in control . . . we still choose to panic.
Hang on tight, I know this is getting long. But I need you to read this carefully.
What those three women did? They were so strong. And it wasn’t because they rolled the stone. They didn’t even so much as touch the stone. Because even before they got there, it had rolled away. No, they were strong because of something else.
Their strength was their faith. Even if they knew there was freaking boulder in their path, even if they saw with their own eyes that their Lord Jesus Christ had died, even if everyone, even Peter and the apostles, was losing hope in Jesus . . . they still chose to believe. They still chose to trust. Maybe they could see Jesus one last time, even if it meant bringing burial spices.
And let me tell you something, burial spices ain’t cheap.
Burial spices come with a cost. During biblical times, spices cost more than gold and silver. A drop of myrrh during that time could have been more valuable than a pair of Yeezys.
The women were going to go all the way, buying those expensive spices, not even knowing if they could enter the tomb. They could have chosen to give up on Jesus after everything that happened. But they still decided to make one more gesture, one more yes, one more step, still holding their faith in Him.
They had faith that God was in control.
And to their surprise. And to their absolute bewilderment:
The stone. Was rolled. Away.
That wasn’t all! The tomb was empty.
No body to bury. No person to pay final respects to. This was not what they planned.
Because God had a greater plan.
This is something personal to me: I’m a planner. I’m a strategist. I’m always coming up with the best idea and the best way and the best plan to do anything. But no matter how long I put together my plan, it can never, ever, ever compare to God’s plan.
You see, God’s plan was not for Mary and the other women to bury Jesus with expensive spices.
God’s plan was for those three women with incredible faith to be the very first people to see the resurrection take place.
We cannot see the plan, but the only way to get to it is to trust in God and know He is in control.
You might be in a situation like Mary’s. You might be blocked by a giant stone. You might have gone through so much unspeakable things. You might be going through something unspeakable right now.
But let me tell you that God is in the process of resurrecting you. As literal as His resurrection was: it was also a symbolic resurrection, symbolising how HE IS RESURRECTING YOU as you read this right now.
God is resurrecting you from your toxic relationship.
God is resurrecting you from your addictions.
God is resurrecting you from the masks you put on yourself.
God is resurrecting you from your old life.
God is resurrecting you from situations where you think there is no more going back.
Now if you think you’ve gone past the point of no return, let me speak something to you:
Jesus has gone back from the point of no return, to bring you to the point of resurrection.
If you’ve made it this far reading this little blog, I want you to know that God is in control of whatever situation you are in right now. God is in control of whatever struggle, whatever setback, whatever stone.
If that stone blocking Mary and those women was rolled away, surely God will roll away that stone even before you get there.
The question is, WILL you get there? Will you have faith that God will carry you through? Or will you turn around and give up?
If you want to experience the resurrection that God has in store for you, I pray that you allow God to be in control.
That you trust in Him. That no matter how grave the situation or the cost is, you will keep holding on, running towards Jesus.
Because the stone, has been rolled away.
PS. If you want to read about a time where God’s plan was far better and far beyond my plan, here’s my Easter story.
PPS. #easterstory is still ongoing! If you have a personal testimony that you are dying to share, then now’s your time. Hop on to Instagram, post a picture and share your story in the caption. Don’t forget to tag me, @bene.sanchez and add #easterstory at the end of the caption. The best stories will be featured here on my blog!
PPPS. Speaking of Easter story (gosh I cannot get enough of Easter), I am overwhelmed by your response from my last post. Fr. Bob McConaghy even got to read it, and I was floored. Thank you so much for the time and attention you’re giving my little blog, I truly appreciate it. I really hope somehow, you’re being blessed by these words. These words aren’t mine, yes, I’m just being a vessel here . . . but thank you anyway for taking the time to read. I want you to know that I really care about you, and I want to invest my life into your life. I promise to keep on producing content and doing what I can to help a fellow brother or sister out. I want you to know I’m here with you with whatever you’re struggling with. You can talk to me anytime! Leave a comment, message me on Facebook or Instagram, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’d be happy to talk to you. God bless each one of you, see you next Wednesday!