He is Not Here

Delivery Day • He is Not Here
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

When I was a child, Easter was nothing more than getting some candy. When I became a teenager, Easter was nothing more than getting a few days off of school. When I was in my twenties, I was working at a grocery store; Easter was nothing more than a week where I could get some overtime. Easter did not start to mean something to me until Jesus started to mean something to me. All my life I believed I would become my surroundings. My surroundings involved drinking, drugs, depression, anger, doubt, sadness, passive aggressiveness, neglect, chaos, and darkness. That is where I was going to be my whole life, but Easter changed that.

One of my favorite Easter verses in the Bible is only four simple words. If I wanted to embrace the contraction, it would be three simple words. Matthew 28:6 says, “He is not here.” An angel said that to both ladies named Mary when they went to visit the tomb where Jesus was buried. They expected to see what they saw the day before, a tomb filled with a loved one. The ladies never thought that view would change. Mary knew that her Son was buried and died, and she had accepted that as a reality. The hurt of being alone with no husband and now no son must have been heart-wrenching. Mary Magdalene went to see a man who loved her, taught her, and helped teach her about godly things. Now only hurt remained and that became her new reality. Before those two got to the tomb, I wish I could have been there as they woke up that morning to go to the tomb. Each woman was passing each other with those weak smiles that we show when we are destroyed on the inside. As they walked and got closer to the tomb, I am sure anger, doubt, and sadness started taking over their lives. But then they saw the tomb was open, and they were told the four greatest words recorded in the Bible, “He is not here.”

That means so much to me because at one point I never thought life could be any different. I was born into a family with a drinking problem, which meant my kids would be born into a family that had a drinking problem. I lived in darkness as a kid that means I would always live in darkness.  When I looked at my life, I was always going to be “here,” inside that tomb. I would never get out of “here.” “Here” in my life was the pit of sin and the hurt I encountered. Easter means the world to me because Jesus rose from the tomb so I could leave mine. Since Jesus was not “here,” that meant that I did not have to be or stay in my “here.” It is one of those sobering feelings to look back at where life used to be. I think back to being in a place of such darkness, and because of Jesus I did not have to stay there. Because He left, that meant I did not have to stay there. That is what Easter means to me.

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