Living life like an All-American manly man for decades is a pretty tough thing to do. Yet somehow most of us men learn to do it. Women learn to do it too. We all seem to have our outer person that everyone knows and loves or hates while we suffer in silence with the real life that is going on inside of us.
When you go to church, keep in mind that the guy sitting in front of you that has the perfect family with him is probably not at all who is seems to be.
At work, the boss that seems to have it all together and is running the place efficiently and can do it all without batting an eye has a lot more going on inside than he will ever let you see.
Even the guy you pass on the sidewalk that scares you a little bit with his demeanor and swagger, well, he isn’t so tough as you or he might believe.
There is a mask on this world. There is a fake reality that confronts us every day. If a person wants to, they can make up their own version of reality and fit in just fine with all the phoniness that is going on around them. They can wear it like camouflage and when it all falls apart and bad things happen, the ugly fall-out of reality can take those around them by surprise.
If I truly want to make a difference, I have to stop the insanity. I have to stop being the man of stone and let the world see something besides the big fake that my silly brain tells me I ought to be.
After Jesus died, people saw the end. They saw the great teacher with the God-complex had reached the end of the road. Those who had placed hope in him lost it. Those that had not, well, they said, “I told you so!” People were quickly going back to their big, fake world or reality. The Jews had no hope really. I’m sure that this flash of Messianic hope was quickly turned into disappointment and they felt even more hopeless than before.
But they still didn’t understand the truth. They were living in the midst of a revolution and didn’t even know it. They struggled on with everyday life, bound by Jewish law, bound by Roman law, imprisoned by their sinful lives. They were being set free but their hope was now dead and buried.
John 20:1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
Well, maybe not buried anymore. The stone had been rolled away. Something supernatural had happened but Mary was still living in her world of her own version of reality. Her version makes a lot of sense. People don’t just get up out of their graves after all. Yet, she had seen it before and if Jesus could raise Lazurus from the dead, what would stop him from raising from the dead? I can’t say much bad about her reaction. I have seen Jesus do amazing things time and time again but I seem to forget about those things when things are going bad. I forget where my hope comes from. I choose too often to live without it.
John 20:6 Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, 7 while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying apart from the other wrappings. 8 Then the disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, and he saw and believed—9 for until then they still hadn’t understood the Scriptures that said Jesus must rise from the dead.
The stone had been rolled away. What was inside? Hope. For Peter and the other disciple it was like the end of a great ‘who-dun-it’ novel. That moment of, “Oh! Now it makes complete sense to me.” The stone had been rolled away and the truth had been revealed and the truth was amazing and freeing.
Once I have this truth abiding in me, why do I feel the need to keep it sealed away behind a stone? The world around me is living in deception and hopelessness. Isn’t it about time that I roll the stone away and let the hope come walking out? It is an amazing and almost unbelievable story. Yeah, it is unbelievable but it is true. It can show others where true hope lies. It can show others what true hope does. It can show others what true hope can become. Life is a lot more fun living with that knowledge than living in the split-personality world of today.
Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A lot of us live with a kind of secret hope. But that is only part of what God has for us. It is only by rolling away the stone and becoming real on the inside and out that hope can overflow. Overflowing hope helps not only ourselves but all that we come in contact with. It is truly life-changing.