Suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them . . . [and] said to them. . . . “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”
A little girl turns around in a department store, expecting to see her daddy. But he’s not there. Panic.
A woman gets up and goes to the kitchen, expecting to see her husband. But he’s not there. Grief.
Friends go to the arena, expecting to see their favorite performer’s last concert. But he’s not there. Disappointment.
A man goes to the courthouse, expecting to confront his attacker. But he’s not there. Anger.
“He is not here.”
Those four words don’t typically evoke positive feelings. But on the morning of Jesus’ resurrection, the angel’s sermon brings joy and hope bubbling to the surface because those four words are followed by one overpowering truth: He is risen, just as he said. Amid all of life’s disappointments, we have a God who keeps his word.
Jesus is not here because he has risen and ascended to God’s right hand. He’s gone to prepare a place for us. But if he’s gone to prepare a place for us, that means he’s coming back.
Until then, we will still be scared, sad, disappointed, and angered. But let’s not forget what promise opened for us when that stone was flung from its place. Jesus may be hidden from our eyes, but we can always find him in his word. He meets us there with his peace, his joy, his satisfaction, and his grace, and his promise that he will work good for us.
We will not stay in doubt, fear, pain, and sorrow. We will not stay in the grave. We will not stay in our mortal, perishable bodies. We will not stay on this earth, groaning under the weight of sin, but when he comes back, he will take us to live with him on a new earth, cleansed of all evil.
Lord Jesus, I am so glad that you are not here, that you are risen, just as you said. It means I can trust that you will keep all your promises to me. Amen.