Facing the Truth
"When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could embalm him. Very early on Sunday morning, as the sun rose, they went to the tomb. They worried out loud to each other, “Who will roll back the stone from the tomb for us?” Then they looked up, saw that it had been rolled back—it was a huge stone—and walked right in. They saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed all in white. They were completely taken aback, astonished.
He said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus the Nazarene, the One they nailed on the cross. He’s been raised up; he’s here no longer. You can see for yourselves that the place is empty. Now—on your way. Tell his disciples and Peter that he is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You’ll see him there, exactly as he said.”
-Mark 16:1-7 (MSG)
On a fateful Friday afternoon, the women who followed Jesus witnessed the horror and humiliation of His death. He was Mary’s son and Mary Magdalene’s healer. He was their friend, champion, and Lord. And He was killed in an act of searing brutality.
In the worst moments of His life, those closest to Jesus ran the furthest away--except the disciple John and the women mentioned in Mark’s gospel. They remained at the foot of the cross--shaken yet unwavering in their proximity to Jesus’ pain.
Three days later, the same women once more faced the reality of Jesus’ death with their steadfast presence. They walked to His tomb to prepare His body for final burial. It must have been difficult to get up that morning. Their limbs probably felt heavy with grief as they prepared the embalming spices. I wonder if they were tempted to just stay in bed. Who wants to deal with such heartbreaking loss?
By heading toward the tomb, the women chose to walk toward agony. They moved to the place where they lost not only their Savior but a lot of their footing too. The tomb was the location of unknowing and confusion, shattered dreams and tremendous loss. Instead of running away, the women confronted the horror of what happened. It required tremendous grit.
There are so many realities I don’t want to face.
The scale in the bathroom.
My doubts about God.
My doubts about myself.
I’d rather pull the covers up over my head and remain buffered in a womb of blankets and denial. And yet each one of us is called to more than a life of avoidance.
Jesus said, “Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship.” (John 4:24 MSG) As worshippers of Jesus Christ, we are called to face the truth – about ourselves, our circumstances, and about Him.
It’s hard to face some realities. But to deny the painful parts of life is to ignore those things most in need of resurrection. If we do not enter into the truth of difficult experiences, thoughts, and questions, then we cannot discover what God might have waiting for us there.
On that Sunday morning, Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Salome were facing the reality of claustrophobic tomb darkness. And yet by facing the truth, they witnessed the miraculous. In their willingness to confront death, they discovered resurrection.
We cannot enjoy the hope of Easter without the devastation of Good Friday. In the same way, our ability to admit the truth of our sin and struggle, questions and confusions will lead to the joyous unveiling of God’s glorious, overwhelming, all-encompassing grace.
When you are a worshiper of God, the truth--however frightening or uncomfortable it might be--will not crush you. Rather, it will set you free. To face the tomb is to discover that the stone has been rolled away. To walk toward Jesus is to walk toward undeniable, irrepressible hope.
In the reality of this messy, magnificent life, we will have to face some heartbreaking truths. It will require a fair amount of grit. But when we move toward the hard stuff, we will always come to face to face with the resurrecting, renewing, remarkable love of Jesus Christ. And that’s the truth.
For Further Study:
Read about Jesus' interaction with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:1-42.
How did the woman initially handle the truth of her life?
How did Jesus handle the truth of her life?
How did His acknowledgment of the truth change the conversation?
Re-read John 4:39. Why do you think she was so ready to admit the truth of her life?
What is the connection between truth and grace?
What might God be calling you to walk toward today?