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 the tomb could not hold our saviour, gives us hope for a life filled with the joy of His salvation.
Why are Mary and Mary Magdalene afraid of the sight of the angel announcing Jesus does as He had promises, in saying He would rise from death to life? I think it is because their minds couldn’t deal with the glorious sight they see of that angel messenger, who blazes like lightning.
Imagine for a moment you are going about your day. 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 God loves you so much, He sends an angel to listen to the cries from your heart?
What would you say to the angel? When you get 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 their eyes are deceiving them. I am seeing an illusion. This awesome vision before my eyes can’t be real.
Imagine for a moment as you close your eyes 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 couldn’t have the story spread He is who He says He is, that He is both human and divine. These murderers would look like fools. Why? If they are wrong about denying Christ’s divinity, then it would be logical to conclude nothing the chief priests and elders said, or the Romans said about the power of their gods should be believed.
The chief priests and the elders get together to concoct a story the disciples must have collectively removed the boulder, and taken Christ’s body out of the tomb. They bribe the soldiers to lie. Their reputations as learned men, who know God’s Truth, hang in the balance.
We can’t have the story spread 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. They would turn away from a religion they could no longer support. We read in the last sentence of this passage the lie the disciples removed Christ’s body from the tomb, is 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 isn’t dead. He’s alive! 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.
At age four Benjamin has a life-threatening seizure during which he sees a bright light above him, which his mother doesn’t see. He has four cardiac arrests. On December 6, 2011 it takes paramedics three minutes to get his heart started again. The fourth cardiac arrest takes his life the evening of Christmas Day 2011.
What Christ and Ben would want us to remember is every breath we breathe is a miracle from God. Perhaps, Ben’s story will inspire you to be there for that family member, friend, pastor or colleague who needs you.
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. 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 is your last day. Help others see 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 say is an incurable estremely rare auto immune condition called mastocytosis. This means I have too many mast (immune and systemic) cells. Karen tells people it’s like having allergy on steroids. I tell people it’s like having a neighbourhood block party that’s out of control. I have been intubated nine times for mast cell attacks. I have survived four bouts with pneumonia, one time which went into both lungs. I also have asthma.
I believe in miracles. On treatment my condition is moving towards a greater level of stability. I rest myself in the healing arms of Christ, our Great Physician.
I know what it is like to fight for every breath, to feel like I’m breathing through a straw. Each breath I breathe is a gift from God.
My life is a living testimony miracles still do happen. I survive the physical and emotional abuse of my schizophrenic 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 dies. I live. I overcome a flu at age 17 when my body temperature soars to 105 degrees farenheit. In the year 2000 I nearly die from asthmatic bronchitis after collapsing in my apartment. I am working as an Assistant Professor of ESL at Kwandong University in the eastern seaboard city of Kangnung, South Korea. My peak flow is 150. This is the measurement of the maximum rate for expiration of your breath. Those who have asthma or other lung conditions can tell you how serious such a low peak flow reading is. During one of my intubations, I am unconscious for three days, before the doctors are able to wake me up.
While many have disputed it, during those three days I am given a brief glimpse of Heaven. I am only privileged to see the entrance. I see God’s creation all around me. The trees and the clear blue sky are beautiful far beyond anything on this earth. The sun blazes. I hear the sweet sound of birds chirping. Nothing I could write could fully describe what I see.
My soul is at peace. Then, as quickly as I see the image, I feel medical angels taking my spirit back to earth.
I have mixed feelings as I open my eyes. I’m glad to see my beautiful wife, Karen. I can’t speak. I still have a breathing tube in my throat. Yet, I also feel a crushing sadness. I am 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 use science and logic to dispute the existence of miracles. In the final analysis belief in miracles is a matter of faith.
That first cry of life coming from a baby is a miracle. Those who beat the odds and survive terminal diseases are a living miracle. Benjamin Breedlove’s life is a miracle. He lived his life with passion, joy and a boundless love for his family. He possessed a heart as big as the world, to which he communicated his thoughts about his life and his faith.
Ben’s life inspires me to fight on for the quality life 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 a world of equality and brotherly love for all, is not a fantasy. It can happen 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. I love you with all of my heart next to God.
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 Papa, 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.-Th.D. program in Applied Theology majoring in Psychology. I am learning so much from you. I am growing as a man of God through your wise counsel.
To my dear family and 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.
Kevin Osborne is training to become a psychotherapist, priest and chaplain through St. James the Elder University in Jacksonville, Florida. He and his wife, Karen, plan to open a counselling practice. Karen is taking graduate divinity studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. Kevin is planning on taking additional graduate studies there. He is a member of The Word Guild, a Christian writer’s group in Canada.
Our greatest calling is to be servants of our Lord wherever He calls us to go.