When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.
The fear of most things makes most people mostly stay home. Even just what is uncomfortable causes most people to avoid it. I had a friend in college, Suzanne, she could gather a crowd and make fun happen. She could get people to drive across the state of Texas to bring trucks and equipment so all the people she could gather from our dorm would have a day at Lake Somerville. One day she asked me to come to her dorm room at 2:00 on a Friday and not mention it to anyone. When I arrived she was so embarrassed and began to tell me she is intelligent. I agreed. She said she wanted to go to church, but when people talked they seemed to know all of it. What? The people they talk about. I was puzzled. Suzanne explained some more. I was still puzzled. Finally I had some comprehension. You mean "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?" Right!
How difficult it is to come to Church and not know what is going on. How many people come to Church & leave because it is uncomfortable? Watching the Church Lady on Saturday Night Live is enough to cause anyone to bolt.
What about the phrase "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" ... it sounds medieval.
The first day of the New Covenant - when God decided to create Heaven and abolish death by giving us His Son, Jesus - no one was feeling peaceful. Easter Sunday had a tremendous amount of fear. All of the Saints were acting very humanly. They were hiding, filled with trembling & astonishment. The embalming of Jesus was left to the women (the disciples were so much in hiding they didn't know the body of Jesus already has 75 pounds of spices) because the men were in fear of their lives. None of the children of God had it remotely figured out.
This first day they had more disbelief than hope. And God didn't take the hope from them or punish them for their less than saintly reactions. They didn't know how to react.
What happened next is known throughout the world. This is the fear of the Lord, it is only the beginning of the wisdom.
They did recover from their fear. Not because they became more saintly, but through the gift of God. With their belief, with their courage, with the overwhelming help of God's Spirit, Jesus Christ changed the heavens and the earth.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank You, for Your work of Salvation.
Thank You for creating us as chosen and precious in your sight. We lift up those we Love to You. For Your Great Love. We lift up our concerns and their concerns. With Joy knowing Your Love and tender care. We lift up our communities, state and Nation. Thank God to do this. And lift up the joy of knowing so many who call upon Jesus the Lord. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †