28 1-7 When the Sabbath was over, just as the first day of the week was dawning Mary from Magdala and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. At that moment there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from Heaven, went forward and rolled back the stone and took his seat upon it. His appearance was dazzling like lightning and his clothes were white as snow. The guards shook with terror at the sight of him and collapsed like dead men. But the angel spoke to the women, “Do not be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here—he is risen, just as he said he would. Come and look at the place where he was lying. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead. And, listen, he goes before you into Galilee! You will see him there! Now I have told you my message.”
8 Then the women went away quickly from the tomb, their hearts filled with awe and great joy, and ran to give the news to his disciples.
9-10 But quite suddenly, Jesus stood before them in their path, and said, “Peace be with you!” And they went forward to meet him and, clasping his feet, worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go now and tell my brothers to go into Galilee and they shall see me there”
11-15 And while they were on their way, some of the sentries went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. They got together with the elders, and after consultation gave the soldiers a considerable sum of money and told them, “Your story must be that his disciples came after dark, and stole him away while you were asleep. If by any chance this reaches the governor’s ears, we will put it right with him and see that you do not suffer for it.” So they took the money and obeyed their instructions. The story was spread and is current among the Jews to this day”
(Matthew 28:1-15, J. B. Phillips New Testament).
We are all familiar with the story recorded for us in the synoptic gospels of the miracle of Christ’s resurrection from death. In a world filled with so much hopelessness , the fact that the tomb could not hold our saviour gives us hope for a life filled with the joy of His salvation even in the darkest of circumstances.
But if we believe that Christ is divine then why should we be amazed that He was not in the tomb? Why were Mary and Mary Magdalene afraid of the sight of the angel announcing that Jesus had simply done as He had promised, in saying that He would rise from death to life? I think it was because their minds could not deal with the glorious sight they saw of that angel messenger who blazed like lightning.
Imagine for a moment that you are going about your day at work, home or at your school. Without warning, without any time to prepare for it, an angel appears before you shining with a radiant light. Wouldn’t you be frightened? Would you instead find yourself blessed that God should love you so much, that He sent an angel to listen to the cries from your heart?
What would you say to the angel? When you got over the initial shock of seeing such a sight of the demonstration of God’s love for you, would you not fall prostrate and cry tears of joy at such a spirit-lifting sight?
Sadly, those who choose not to believe in God would say surely their eyes were playing tricks on them. I am seeing an illusion. This awesome vision before my eyes cannot be real.
Now, imagine for a moment as you close your eyes that with the angel Christ appears. They both have a message that you must hear. Will you listen or seek to deny the miracle of love you see?
It would be far easier to deny the miraculous. Those responsible for the crucifixion and death of Christ could not have the story spread that Christ really was who He said He was, that He was both human and divine. These murderers would look like fools. Why? Because if they were wrong about denying Christ’s divinity, then it would be logical to conclude that nothing the chief priests and elders and the Romans said of the power in their gods should be believed.
The chief priests and the elders got together to concoct a story that the disciples must have collectively removed the boulder and taken Christ’s body out of the tomb. They bribed the soldiers to lie, because their reputations as learned men, who knew God’s Truth, hung in the balance.
We just can’t have the story spread that Christ conquered death. People would turn away from us. We would lose all the tithes people pay to come to the temple. The Christian church would flourish. Thousands of people would accept salvation and turn away from a religion they could no longer support. We read in the last sentence of this passage that this lie that the disciples removed Christ’s body from the tomb was spread among the Jewish people to this day.
In verse eight we read that Mary and Mary Magdalene transition from fear to awe and wonder at the sight of Christ. They accept the miracle of their saviour’s resurrection. It must have filled Christ’s mother, Mary, with an abounding joy that her son was not dead. He was alive! How that knowledge must have warmed the death she felt in her heart. My son, my beautiful son is not dead.
Mothers, think how you would feel if the miraculous happened for your sons. Listen to a mother’s heart as she tells the story of her son, Benjamin Breedlove.
One week before Christmas Benjamin’s heart stops for three minutes. Ben dies at a later date. As you watch these videos I don’t want you thinking so much about his death, but rather the messages he leaves as a legacy of love for all of us that every day we live is a miracle. We who know God will see Him one day as we transition from this earthly life to our joyful eternal life in Heaven, where there is no more sorrow and no more pain.
What Christ and Ben would want us to remember is that every breath we breathe is a miracle from God. We need to live each day thanking our Lord for those quiet miracles we can give to others. Call that person who needs you most. Be an instrument of positive change in someone’s life.
Just as Christ could not be held by death’s grasp, neither could Ben. He has gone on to a life far better than this one of daily strife. He no longer has to fight to live. Where Ben is in Heaven all earthly things, including disease do not exist.
“and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4, NASB).
Ben’s life touches ours with these inspiring thoughts. Live as if today was your last day. Help others to see that life is a beautiful gift from God to be thankful for as we give the gift of our love to all we meet.
I too have what doctors think is an incurable rare auto immune condition called mastocytosis. I have been intubated eight times for attacks on my immune system. I have survived three bouts with pneumonia, one time which went into both lungs. I also have asthma.
I know what it is like to fight for every breath, to feel like I am breathing through a straw. I know that each breath I breathe is a gift from God.
I believe in miracles because my life is a living testament miracles still do happen. I survived the physical and emotional abuse of my schizo affective father. If I had gone with my cousin, Paul, in a barrel boat made from an oil can, I would have drowned at age eight. Paul died. I lived. I overcame a flu at age 17 when my body temperature soared to 105 degrees farenheit. In the year 2000 I nearly died from asthmatic bronchitis after collapsing in my apartment. I was working as an Assistant Professor of ESL at Kwandong University in the eastern seaboard city of Kangnung, South Korea. My peak flow was 150. That is the measurement of the maximum rate for expiration of your breath. Those who have asthma or other lung conditions can tell you just how serious such a low peak flow reading is. During one of my intubations I was asleep for three days before the doctors were able to wake me up.
While many have disputed it, during those three days I was given a brief glimpse of Heaven. I was only privileged to see the entrance. I saw God’s creation all around me. The trees and the clear blue sky were beautiful far beyond anything on this earth. The sun blazed through the entrance way I was in. I could hear the sweet sound of birds chirping.
My soul was at peace. Then, as quickly as I saw the image I felt medical angels taking my spirit back to earth.
I recall mixed feelings as I opened my eyes. I was glad to see my beautiful wife, Karen. I couldn’t speak as I still had my breathing tube in me. Yet, I also felt a crushing sadness that I was returned to earth to continue the struggles of this daily existence filled with ongoing health challenges.
I choose to live each day with hope. I will continue to pray for those who even when seeing miracles use science and logic to dispute their existence.
That first cry of life that comes from a baby is a miracle. Those who beat the odds and survive terminal conditions are a living miracle. Benjamin Breedlove through living his life with passion, joy and a boundless love for his family and a heart as big as the world to which he communicated his thoughts about his life and his faith, is a miracle.
Ben’s life inspires me to fight on for the quality life that I believe is the fundamental right of every human-being. Through the lives of leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa and the teenager Malala Yousafzai, we are challenged to believe and dream that a world of equality and brotherly love for all is not a fantasy. It can be a living and active reality if we all work hard to create that kind of world.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Lord and a few of the people who give me the hope to press on as I battle my illness. Karen, my wife, thanks for loving me on those difficult days when I show you I am a man of God with faults, who is on a journey of being perfected in love. Know that I love you with all of my heart next to God.
La Vonne Earl, the day I met you on Linkedin is one of the greatest joys of my life. You as my coach and fellow warrior in the faith are fighting along with me. You have such a beautiful love for your saviour I feel in my heart as I talk with you. I would have never thought that meeting you on a Linkedin group for Christian writers and entrepreneurs would have led to meeting a loving and inspiring soul like you.
You are helping me transition from a victim of horrific child abuse from my schizo affective father to that of a victorious healer. I look forward to training with you to become a Certified Christian Life Coach for Your Kingdom Inheritance Coaching. La Vonne, you are encouraging and challenging me with the love of Christ to keep making healthy food and life choices.
I have known Jesus as my personal Lord and saviour for 31 years. That cold night in March, 1983, I knelt at the altar at The Salvation Army North York Temple and asked Christ into my life. I ended my life of half commitment to my Lord. I said Christ could have all of me. While I have had my struggles, my mountain and valley experiences, the miracle of Christ’s hope in my heart continues to live within me.
Dr. Heyward Ewart, President of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, who I affectionately call Father Paul, thank you for helping make my life of abuse one of an amazing story of overcoming. I count it a blessing from God to be in your M.A.-Ph.D. program in Clinical Christian Counselling. I am learning so much from you and growing as a man of God through your wise counsel.
To my dear friends who have supported Karen and me with their prayers and their undying love, thank you for being the beautiful people of God that you are.
And to all of my readers, Marmar, and fellow co-authors, thanks for inspiring me through how you live your life.
Please ponder this thought from Albert Einstein.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Christ conquering death is a miracle. Benjamin Breedlove’s life is a miracle. You are a miracle.