TEXT: MATTHEW 28:1-7
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
The death of Jesus was a very traumatic experience for all his disciples. They felt sad and hopeless. Many of them ran for their lives. But one woman showed a genuine commitment to the Messiah. She risked the possibility of being arrested by the soldier and went to the tomb of Jesus. She felt not just to let it go like that. She felt a need to honour the Messiah who set her free from seven powerful demons tormenting her. She expressed her deep commitment to God’s kingdom by following Jesus to the tomb.
Interestingly, the vocal disciples were nowhere to be found at this trying time. Of course, many of them would fear death as there was a high likelihood that the killers of Jesus would be looking for them. So, they went hiding.
The exemplary commitment of Mary counted for her to be the first person to see the resurrected saviour. We celebrate her boldness and commitment today because she overcame her fear and followed her heart. The disciples did not leave forever; they returned to their Master after the resurrection and renewed their commitment to follow him. Thank God that they renewed their commitment because it gives us access to the gospel today.
Genuine commitment is very demanding and could be challenging. It is what makes you keep loving even when it seems you should stop. It is what makes you keep working even when no one is praising you. It is what keeps you going even when the road seems unclear.
Some factors make it challenging to keep one’s commitment. Fear is a major factor affecting one’s commitment to God and our relationship. Fear puts us in a state of uncertainty. Fear makes us doubt our trust and may impact our judgement of God’s faithfulness. Fear is a dangerous enemy of commitment. The powerful weapon to overcome fear is a confession of faith in the word of God. Another factor is unbelief. Thomas was far away from the Messiah because of his unbelief. He even doubted the testimonies of other disciples until Jesus appeared unto him. The antidote to unbelief is an encounter with Jesus and faith in the power of His resurrection.
The role of the Holy Spirit in the life of a disciple cannot be overemphasized. The Holy Spirit is the secret behind their steadfast commitment to Jesus, even to the point of death. They all had martyrdom in death because the Holy Spirit helped them to be committed and faithful. We need the Holy Spirit in our hearts to have true commitment.
Therefore, let us ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to help us remain committed to the Lord. God is looking for a truly committed follower.