The Pursuit of Hope- 4/9/2023

Apr 9, 2023

It is Sunday morning. Jesus had risen from the grave and first revealed Himself to a group of women, which included Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Joseph, Salome, and Joanna (Lk 24:10; 8:3). Jesus appeared separately to Mary Magdalene because as soon as she saw the stone was rolled away, she ran to tell the disciples. She was convinced His body had been stolen. So Peter and John ran to check out the tomb (vs.12; Jn 20:3-5). They found the wrappings of Jesus and, from the appearance, realized that some sort of miracle had taken place, but they were still confused. Maybe they thought Jesus’ body had been taken up into heaven like Elijah, who went up in a whirlwind (2Ki 2:11) because John says, “...they did not yet know the Scriptures that He must rise again from the dead.” In other words, they did not yet understand that Jesus was not only alive spiritually but that He had broken the grip of death and was now alive physically in an immortal body. One of the most straightforward pieces of evidence of Peter and John’s lack of understanding was what they did next: They went home.


Mary Magdalene was not present when the other women reported that Jesus was alive to the disciples, who did not believe them (vs.11). Yet, after seeing Jesus, she also returned to tell them the good news. They did not believe her either (Jn. 20: 13-18). Jesus would not show Himself to the eleven disciples until later that evening. The disciples had gathered at an undisclosed location. They were in a frightened and defeated condition, as John tells us, “...the doors where the disciples were had been locked because of the fear of the Jews (religious leaders)” (Jn. 20:19).


Jesus allowed His closest friends, His brothers (Jn.20:17), to sit in their unbelief from morning until evening, but He was not idle during that day. He took a walk with some unknown disciples. These disciples were not part of the inner circle. Yet, they were close enough to know everything happening and where they could find the disciples. Their despair and disappointment were so great that they left to head home rather than stay with the other disciples and mourn. Essentially, they were running away. They had dared to hope in Jesus of Nazareth, and now that hope was crushed. Hope is a dangerous thing. If we dare to hope, we might be crushed under its weight. However, there is good news, Jesus restores hope in a dark world full of despair and loss.