March 31, 2023 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Mark 16:5-7 (NRSV)
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
The Gospel is not just for near misses. When Mary, Mary, and Salome come looking to anoint a body with dignity, they found that there was no death in that cave—only someone who told them not to fear, and to reconcile what they saw at the cross with what they saw in the tomb. When Jesus steps into every circumstance it causes all kinds of tension and a need for trust which is the core of discipleship.
When I was a student in architectural engineering, we were still doing some drawing work by hand. I believe they wanted us to learn to appreciate the history of where we had come from. I was just about done with a layout using ink on mylar paper when my pen exploded all over the page. My classmates said I ran outside to the top of the hill yelling. It was storming and they said you could see lightning behind me. They slightly exaggerated, but they made the point: it is difficult to look at destruction and have hope.
I cannot imagine what these disciples felt when they watched our Savior die in a most humiliating way. We love the almost type of stories. “We almost got hit by a car.” “We just missed the storm.” But this was no near miss. Jesus had died. And now everyone was trying to make sense of how someone who had, and gave, so much life could now be dead.
The Gospel is not just for near misses. When Mary, Mary, and Salome come looking to anoint a body with dignity, they found that there was no death in that cave—only someone who told them not to fear, and to reconcile what they saw at the cross with what they saw in the tomb. Jesus did not almost die. It was not a near miss. Yet, he was also not in the tomb. When Jesus steps into every circumstance it causes all kinds of tension and a need for trust which is the core of discipleship.
The drawings I inked were broken and stained. There is no way to blot out stains in mylar. But the Gospel shows us again and again, that whether a near miss or utterly broken, God can use it. The women walked into a cave expecting death and they came out of it as the first to announce the Gospel.
When you think about the trauma of their experience at the crucifixion what do you think their thoughts and feelings were when they first walked into the tomb?
How do you look at broken things? Do you have as much hope as a near miss?
Consider the things you see in your community that are destroyed. What does the gospel message and how you see God redeeming brokenness mean for how you look at the things around you?
We thank you for the grace of delivering us from evil and a hedge of protection. But we also see every case where the Israelites did not just almost get exiled, almost thrown into a furnace or almost die. You make life in all things. Make us live in accordance with that truth. Amen.
Banner image by JF Martin on Unsplash.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: The Cross and Resurrection (Mark 14:32-16:8).
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DeLano J. Sheffield is the Business Resource Specialist for Goodwill of MoKan where he connects to people on the fringes, training them to reach their full potential through learning and the power of work; he also is on the frontlines of the advances of the fourth industrial revolution and coaches leaders on diversity, inclusion, and accessibility. He began his career as an architectural engineer then went on to attend seminary. In every part of his life he finds ways to infuse theology into vocation, and strengthen practical connections of faith and daily activity. DeLano lives in Kansas City, Missouri.