Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. (Lk. 24:2)
Bewildered and amazed, Jesus’ followers witness the sky turning dark at midday. The grief that must have weighed on them as they witnessed the One they loved, their Teacher and Messiah, take His last breath. Jesus’ death on the cross, execution by humiliation. It appeared that the hate of man had conquered the love of God. Their Lord, their Savior, their hope crucified. What were they to think now? What of His miracles, His compassion, His teachings? Heartbroken and weeping, the women “came very early in the morning” to anoint their Redeemer’s body with sweet-smelling spices. But . . . they found an empty tomb. “If you have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him” (Jn. 20:15). Jesus has risen from the dead; He is alive! Now they will walk with Him in the Spirit, not the flesh; hear His teachings in their spirit, not the flesh. Jesus will send them His Helper and Teacher, the Holy Spirit. Now He will live within the individual. Now they will understand the promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deut. 31:8).
When their hopes were dashed and their faith wavering, Jesus appeared. When life known by the chosen few ended, a new life for many began. When we love, we, too, suffer heartbreak. A parent dies, a child rejects the faith, a spouse leaves us. Our life is changed. Forever. Hope dies, despair rushes in, and we know not what to do. The women “came early in the morning” with sweet-smelling spices for Jesus’ body. What sweet-smelling spices would we have to offer? The Scriptures tell us that a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord is a burnt offering (Ex. 29:18). An offering made with fire, an all-consuming fire. A fire that burns the dross from our lives and renews our relationship with God. Jesus, the ultimate fulfillment of the burnt offering.
Have you endured a broken relationship? Have you offered a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord? Though you may be tempted to make this offering to your sin nature—hate, pride, shame—beware less God send His fury upon you (Ez. 6:12-13). Are you willing to walk in love as Christ also loved you and gave Himself for you as a sweet-smelling aroma (Eph. 5:2)? When your dreams are shattered, remember that Jesus is alive. He is waiting for you to come to Him. You can find the stone rolled away, a new life, a life of hope. Let your heart swell with faith, hope and love; let your voice cry out, “Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!”