Fear Not: Jesus and the Two Mary’s

Fear Not: Jesus and the Two Mary’s

Fear Not: Jesus and the Two Mary’s.

“The women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the  mother of James, ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”  (Matthew 28:8-10).

The Saturday Sabbath with its travel restrictions is now over. So early Sunday morning after the crucifixion, the two Mary’s take a little trip to Christ’s burial tomb. They apparently wanted to keep an eye on things, to observe, to commiserate over the death of their dear friend and Lord. They did not go to embalm or anoint His body. They merely wanted to look at the tomb in remembrance. While there they had the surprise of their lives. There was a severe earthquake, and an angel of light descended from heaven to the tomb. The angel proceeded to roll away the stone covering the tomb, and he promptly sat on top of it. Jesus didn’t need the stone rolled away to escape the tomb. The people needed the stone rolled away so they could see the empty tomb. This angel appeared like lightning, and his garment was brighter and more dazzling than the whitest white. The messenger from God first told the women not to be afraid. Actually, though, the women were stronger than the men at the scene. Those guards all fainted dead away. Then the angel told the two women that Jesus had risen, that the tomb was now empty, and they could even sneak a peek into the tomb if they wanted to see for themselves. The women were then told to go and tell the disciples, and that Jesus Himself would meet them in Galilee.

As the two women were on their way to the disciples, who should greet them on the road but the risen Christ! They immediately fell at His feet in worship and fear. The word for worship here means literally to “kiss towards.” There is a good chance that the two faithful women, the first two witnesses of the resurrection, were kissing Jesus’ feet in adoration.  They must have been filled with joy, wonder and fear at the sight of the resurrected Christ. So Jesus tells them, “You’re holding on to me for dear life! Don’t be frightened like that!” (Message).

And then Jesus subtly lays out a wonderful truth. “Go tell my brothers…” What an astonishing fact! As believers, we have joined Christ’s family and we are His brothers and sisters! In Jesus we have a brother. The Twelve started out as disciples of Jesus, then they were friends of Jesus, then they were siblings of Jesus. This means that we have the same Father as Jesus, the Father of the Godhead, the Father of the Son of God. We must not be afraid to call Jesus our brother. For that is what He is.

Another Thought: Fear of Being Stranded. Jesus told the two Mary’s another profound and eternal truth. He revealed to them that He would go ahead of them to Galilee, He would go first before the disciples and would meet them there. Jesus told the two women that He would get there first, before they did. In his wonderful book Subversive Spirituality, Eugene Peterson relates how important that fact is for all of us. He quotes this very idea to himself, that Jesus arrived before he did, before any pastoral visit or encounter. “Every time I show up, I have been anticipated; the risen Christ got there ahead of me. What is He doing? What is He saying? What is going on? I enter a room now not wondering what I am going to do or say, but what the risen Christ has already done, already said. I come in to a story that is in progress, something that is resurrection, already going on. Sometimes I can clarify a word, sharpen a feeling, help recover an essential piece of memory, but always dealing with what the risen Christ has already set in motion, already brought into being.” (Eugene Peterson, Subversive Spirituality, p. 177).