ACTS OF THE APOSTLES 6:1-7
… “it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
MARK 15:43-47; 16:1-8
“… and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. … “Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. “
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?” This is the question that the holy women myrrh bearers were considering as they made their way to anoint the body of Our Lord in accordance with the funerary rites. The tomb of our Lord was sealed. Who will roll away the stone….is a question which we should consider today? For today there are tombs of indifference towards Our Lord- for the unbeliever, He remains buried in history. We must not leave Christ in the sepulchre but bring His Light out to the people and share the message of the Resurrection.
It is this very point that the first disciples were considering as we read in the Acts of the Apostles.
“it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
The Apostles considering the needs of the widows, orphans appointed seven deacons to administer the diaconal ministry to the poor so that they could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the word. The Church in her wisdom provides for both aspects of service; the spiritual and bodily needs.
We do not bury Christ in the Church but we take His message and His compassion out into the world. We see how the Church in the first century was not inward-looking at all but took the message with great zeal to the nations. The Church was missionary in outlook from the very beginning. The word Apostolic Church is self-defining and denotes those who are sent out!
We can bury Christ in the Bible unless we open it, read it, mark the words, learn the message and inwardly digest the truth for our salvation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is not an ornament on our bookshelves, neither is the Bible just some historical document; it is the place where we encounter the inspired word of God and where we meet the Word of God in Christ.
“Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?”
Christ can remain buried in our minds. There are those who say: “ Oh I worship God in my own way, there is no need to go to Church!” Such people shut Our Lord up in the tomb of their own imagination, worship Him at their own convenience and apply misguided reasoning to what constitutes faith.
There are those who are embarrassed to talk about Christ when the opportunity arises or to profess their Christian faith lest others, conforming to a more liberal, secular disposition, would see them as odd or be worse, be offended. At such time we leave the stone sealed at the tomb!
We are in a sense to be myrrh bearers but we must ask the question “Who will roll away the stone of the tomb for us?”
“And looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large.”
As the women go into the tomb they see an angel in the form of a young man who gives them the message- for that is what angels do – they give messages:
And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, He is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.”
We often find ourselves vulnerable and afraid like the myrrh bearers, but we are compelled by the love of God to become human messengers of this Gospel!
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
We must not leave Christ buried under the concerns of worldly cares, we must roll away the stone from the tomb of our heart and soul, and open our mouth to proclaim the message of salvation: Christ is Risen!
By a Joyous Pustinnyk