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How the Resurrection Fuels Disciple Making

Photo of Debbra StephensDebbra Stephens | Bio

Debbra Stephens

Transplanted in the South from her home state of Michigan, this suburban mom-of-two loves her Lord Jesus and His wonderful Word. A dedicated student of the Word, she loves to share what she learns in the classroom, at events, and on the page—dependent upon the ever-faithful Holy Spirit to turn thoughts to text.Debbra has authored four Bible studies, all published by 21st Century Christian Publishers in Nashville, Tennessee. She launched the series Advent Living Books for her seasonal daily devotionals in 2018. Debbra blogs at her website debbrastephens.com and has been published in Christian Woman Magazine.

Before the sun had risen (but after the Son had risen), a dispatch of faithful women trekked to the sealed tomb of their Lord Jesus. Their sorrow quickly turned to alarm when they arrived at an empty grave.

In the gray of early dawn and the darkness of their grief, their steps of devotion were met by a divine reversal. There had been an earthquake, the stone was gone, and the body had disappeared.

The apostle John focuses in on the experience on one of the witnesses, Mary Magdalene:

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’

They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’ (John 20:11-15a)

That day—that unmitigated best-in-all-of-history day—this Mary was given heaven’s good news of God’s Son (John 20:17).

The result: Mary became the first to proclaim the Risen Lord. She simply couldn’t contain what she knew of her Lord.

And you?

I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)

While she actually saw Jesus, haven’t you been shown enough to believe He lives? How I pray you have!

But if you woke this morning, as those women did that first Easter, in disbelief of a resurrected Jesus, then venture out to seek Him. Don’t linger in darkness and sorrow. Rather, run to where His people are gathered to find all the answer your heart needs.

Run, with great haste, to your first Easter—and do not delay.

Woman, why are you crying?’ (John 20:13)

Twice Mary was asked why she wept. First by the angels (John 20:13), then by Jesus (John 20:15). Even she was so consumed by her immediate concerns that she didn’t quite get it the first time.

Is your heart heavy with sorrow, beloved? Hear God tenderly ask, “Why are you crying?” The days of mourning a dead Lord have passed. And the hope born with His resurrection reigns eternal.

Everything changed for Mary in that remarkable moment when she heard Jesus speak her name. Life rocketed from worst-case scenario to only-God-possible. And in exuberant love, she lunged—desperate to cling to her Living Lord.

Grasp firmly the truth that He lives.

Cling tightly to the truth of His love for you—because He knows your name, as well.

Let this be the day God breathed life into your soul, faith into your heart, and hope in a Better Day inevitably coming. For we are the forgiven sinners. Captives freed from death’s sentence. We are the redeemed for resurrection. So, celebrate an empty tomb and a risen Savior. And join in singing a rousing hallelujah chorus of praise.

But don’t let it end there. Be propelled by His resurrection power—that same power that sent the women and apostles running—to obey the gospel.

The awe and adoration of Mary of Magdala that first Easter was renewed. As can be ours—for the resurrection announcement is just as glorious and amazing as ever . . . because He lives!

Let that Good News resurrect your discipleship—and super-charge your disciple-making.

(For more from Debbra visit her at debbrastephens.com.)