From the time we begin our formal education to the time we end it, our teachers expect us to remember things. They teach us concepts such as prime numbers, important events in world history, various elements on the periodic table, and expect us to recall these facts on quizzes and exams. Once we’ve been examined on these things, we never will use most of them again. Yet there are certain concepts such as the Pythagorean Theorem and historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln we will remember forever.
Jesus expected His disciples to remember things, as well. He expected them to remember all that He had said about His death, burial and resurrection—and not grow discouraged when all these things came true. Not only did He want them to remember all He had said; He wanted them to trust His words, as well.
Remember His Promises
When the women approached the tomb that first Easter morning, she found the stone rolled away with no body in sight. She and the other disciples were surprised, although they should not have been. The two angelic witnesses before them said as much. When the disciples regrouped, their words fell on hard hearts. It took first-hand experience for Peter to come to believe the words of the women. They failed to remember the Lord’s promise of returning three days after His death (Luke 9:22).
In many ways, we do the same thing. We fail to remember God has promised us abundant life in Christ and that He never will leave or forsake us. We can rest in knowing He always remains true to His promises.
Remember His Power
Perhaps the women and the apostles struggled with the idea of an empty tomb because they failed to remember Christ’s power over creation. Maybe they believed His miracles, such as cleansing the lepers (Luke 17:11-19) and healing the ear of the high priest’s servant (Luke 22:50-51) were His only power; but His words about being raised from the dead were more figurative than literal. The disciples failed to remember the divine power Christ demonstrated during His earthly ministry.
In our own lives, we often forget that our God has the power to move mountains, change our circumstances, and bring restoration to this broken world. As James tell us, prayer should be our first impulse in everything we do because God hears our prayers and delivers extraordinary results (James 5:13-18).
Remember His Peace
Trusting in the Word of God yields peace in the life of the believer. We no longer need to worry about our eternal fate or lose hope when circumstances in our lives go awry. Had the disciples remembered the peace that only Christ can give, the empty tomb would not have been so surprising. There could be no peace as long as Jesus was still in the tomb. They failed to remember Christ came to give peace to their souls.
When we come to know Jesus, we come to know true peace. It is not only peace in knowing that our eternity is safe with Christ but also that our souls are no longer at war with God.
While the disciples failed to remember Christ’s promises, power and peace, they utterly failed in remembering His words. They failed to remember Jesus explicitly said He would be killed in a conspiracy plot and raised on the third day (Luke 9:22). Their discouragement and confusion overshadowed the joy they could have had if they recalled all the promises Jesus made to them about returning from the dead. While Jesus eventually appeared to them and renewed their faith, the fact of the matter is this: If we fail to remember God’s Word, we risk not recognizing Him as He reveals His power, promises and peace to us.
As we celebrate Easter Sunday, let us remember the Word of God never returns void.
Benjamin Espinoza is the pastor of Community Life at Covenant Church in Bowling Green, Ohio.