But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. Mark 16:4
Nelson Mandela was a South African political activist who spent over two decades in prison for his opposition to “apartheid,” or “separateness.” From the end of World War II until 1994, the government in South Africa curtailed the rights, associations and movements of the black inhabitants and other ethnic groups, while white minority rule was maintained. in 1990 President Frederik Willem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid. When Mandela was released from prison later that year, he said, “As I walked…toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” In a multi-racial election held in 1994, Nelson Mandela won the presidency of South Africa by a landslide. He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, let us consider whether we need to be “freed” from some of life’s burdens. Do we need to roll away the stones from our own “tombs” in order to be truly free? Are those burdens unbelief or confusion? Perhaps doubt or apprehension plaques us. Shame or guilt, bitterness or hated may hinder us from moving forward and living life more fully. And that old standby used by the enemy, fear, may paralyze us and render us incapable in devoting our lives to Christ.
I spent years following a brutal assault wondering if I could stay sane another minute. The very act of moving through a normal day brought terror and anxiety. But through the years, God continued to show me the beauty of His creation and the kindness of the good people in the world. Miracles, large and small, showed me God’s boundless power and love. The phrase “do not be afraid” appears in the Bible 365 times, one for each new day that awaits us. That’s a daily reminder from God to live every day fearlessly. Christ conquered death by rolling the stone away from His grave and proving that He had come back to life. He can roll those stones away for us as well. Arise! His power awaits us.
What wondrous Love is this, that my Savior died for me and for my shortcomings, fears, and limitations! Thank You, Lord, for Your unspeakable gift. Amen