“Go into all the world and preach the Gospel . . .”
Paul explained to the Corinthian church the simplicity of the Gospel message. He stated that Jesus died for our sins, was buried and rose again on the third day; all according to the Scriptures. That was the message the first believers declared to their world. They went into their homes, streets, marketplaces, schools and places of business, declaring the Son of God died for our sins and rose from the dead.
Mary carries the honor of being the first to declare this wonderful news. Upon arriving at the empty tomb she was told,
“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. HE IS RISEN!”
She responded by running to tell the other disciples. Since Jesus had declared He would rise again, it seems they would hear this wonderful news and rejoice together. Jesus is alive! Instead, we read, they did not believe her. What would cause these men to doubt the Word of God, and the testimony of Mary? I think perhaps, it was the difficulty of their circumstances. They were allowing their difficulty to cloud their view of God, instead of allowing the Word of God to shed light on their situation. This is a common occurrence. We have all been guilty of the same struggle. We look to our hardship, and it casts a shadow of doubt upon the promises of God.
Later that night, the church gathered together. There has been, and always will be, comfort in meeting together with friends in times of hardship. It is worth noting what happens when Jesus shows up. He does two remarkable things. First, He rebukes them for their unbelief. While He is our compassionate High Priest who understands our weakness, He also expects us to lay hold of the promises of God, and live by them. Second, He commands them to go tell the world. I am convinced there is a connection here. When we let our circumstances cloud the promises of God, we fail to share those promises. Also, when we share those promises, it shows we truly believe.
These guys heard from Mary that Jesus was alive. They found this to be true, as they went out into the world and declared the Gospel. When filled with fear, they stood before a crowd and shared Christ, He showed up and people were saved. When they met the needy, the blind, lame, and sick, they prayed for them; He showed up, and they were healed. Often we question whether Jesus really is alive from the dead. I think we will find our answer as we go into the entire world and preach the gospel.