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April Message From Pastor Mike: “Running with Resurrection Joy”

I have to admit I haven’t run for a long time, maybe for years now. I mean really run, like we used to be able to do when we were kids, with big, long strides and arms pumping and hair flowing back. Running used to be easy. Now, it seems like a lot of effort and discomfort.

There was a moment on Resurrection morning when two young men ran. They weren’t actually racing, but one did outrun the other, which tells us that they were trying hard to run as fast as they could. They ran with excitement and the first sparks of newfound joy in their hearts. John ran faster that morning than Peter did, so he reached Jesus’ tomb first and discovered that Mary Magdalene had told them the truth. The tomb was empty, and the grave clothes had been left behind as evidence that Jesus was no longer dead but had risen.

John wrote down this story in his Gospel without identifying himself by name, but rather using a code phrase that he repeated throughout his book. He referred to himself as the disciple Jesus loved. It was that love that gave John strength to run to the empty tomb. He ran as hope washed away the grief of Jesus’ death.

There are only a few reasons why a grown man might run. Aside from exercise, running signifies either great peril or exhilaration. We might run away from danger, or we might run toward a wonderful blessing. When John heard the tomb was empty, he ran with, perhaps, a confused mixture of both. Could it be true? Did Jesus really rise again like He said He would? John ran to find out.

We know the story is true. Jesus did rise again. The tomb was empty with the grave clothes left behind. Jesus died for our sins, and then He rose to new life. It is the defining, essential story of our faith. Jesus’ resur-rection gives us hope for this life and the next.

I hope the good news of the Resurrection fills you with joy and spiritual strength. Your legs may not let you run as fast as they once could, but I hope your heart is drawn toward the Risen Savior with great delight.

I imagine we will run in heaven. Especially when we first arrive. We will run to see Jesus. We will run to find loved ones waiting for us. We will run to behold the beauty of God and the wonders of heaven. We will run with ever-renewing joy and tireless strength.

In the meantime, our hearts run to Jesus with needs and worries. We run to the Savior for forgiveness and grace. We run with the Spirit in worship and prayer. We run to God’s word for wisdom and truth. We run with the strength God provides when we need it most and with the undying hope of resurrection.

As I do every Holy Week, let me encourage you to read the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Sit with him in the garden as He prayed. Follow from a distance as He was led away in chains. Walk slowly be-hind as He carried the cross. Stand at a distance as He died. Wait in darkness while his body was sealed in the tomb. Then, on the third day, run to your Risen Lord and rejoice in the new life He gives you.

May God’s grace fill your heart as we celebrate the Resurrection.

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