Matters of Faith: Are You A Believer?

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Luke 24:9-12 NKJV ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.” ‭‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Jesus had been crucified, taken down from the cross, prepared for burial, anointed with oil, sprinkled with spices, and laid in a borrowed tomb. According to the Jewish calendar, He had been in that hollowed-out burial cave for three days. Now it was early Sunday morning, and the preparation of His body that began on Friday along with Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the women came to finish on Sunday.

Those who came to finish the burial work are identified as Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women. Not a single man, not one of the Apostles, not Nicodemus or Joseph, not one single man went with them, even though they knew the large rock in front of the tomb would have been too heavy for these women to move. But not one man made himself available to go to the grave.

It’s interesting that the women are mentioned by name, but not one of the Apostles, not Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James, Jude, or Simon. Judas Iscariot would not have been there because he already betrayed Jesus and proved he was not a believer

When the women went back to the Apostles, who were still on self- imposed lock-down in the Upper Room, told them that the stone had been rolled away by the time they arrived, that they not only saw an empty tomb, spoke with angels, and saw the risen Savior, they were dismissed, and their words considered nonsense. Of the eleven remaining Apostles, only John and Peter are said to have gone to the grave to see for themselves. All the rest stayed shut up in the Upper Room.

It is incumbent on every person to decide for themselves if they believe or not. In this narrative, the women did what was fitting and proper for Jesus even after His death. But when they saw the risen Savior, they were immediate believers and relayed that information as quickly as possible to His Apostles. But their response was to dismiss and label their claims foolishness.

It took the Apostles some time before they came to fully believe that Jesus had risen from the grave just as He said He would. But once they got it, they really got it! Now, we have the witness of the Bible that shares what the women believed from the beginning: Jesus lives! His Resurrection is proof that He overcame the one thing common to the human experience, death. This Resurrection Sunday, let me encourage you to believe in Him no matter how long it takes. The Apostles believed after they saw Him for themselves. But Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29 NKVJ). Once you become a believer, you too will defeat death and be resurrected with Him.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; and creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen on Matters of Faith on Facebook LIVE.

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