We Never Say Good-Bye to Him
Saying good-bye is never easy – especially if you’re a mother. It was Andrea's first day of kindergarten. She was all decked out in her purple stir-up pants, Little Mermaid sweatshirt, shoes and backpack (umm… yep). I put her long brown hair up in a side pony tail with a purple scrunchie. She looked adorable. I took lots of pictures and then solemnly walked her to school.
My heart was heavy. This was my baby and for the first time in her life, another woman was going to be spending a lot of time with her – every day with my baby girl! This was not going to be easy. With every step, I dreaded the moment of separation. “How will she handle it?” I asked myself. “Will she cry? Make a scene? Cling to me for one last hug?” Well, it’s understandable if she does, I reasoned. After all, she is saying “good-bye” to her Mommy.
And then the moment of truth. We reached that part of the yard where all of the parents were saying good-bye to their five-year-olds. I could feel the lump in my throat grow. I took a deep breath and braced myself. With all the strength I could muster, I knelt down in front of her, ready to provide my maternal shoulder for her outburst. Only, she didn’t need it. In fact, at that moment, there wasn’t anything that Andrea really wanted, except to skip happily into her new classroom. Actually, I was the one to grab one last hug. I was the one to ask for a quick kiss. And yes, I was the one who had a good cry – later, back at home. Yes, saying good-bye is never easy, either temporarily, or permanently. And that's exactly why one particular verse in today’s reading is so special to me.
Today is our last day in the book of Matthew, reading chapter 28. Now this chapter may only be 20 verses long, but it definitely covers a lot of ground… From the rumbling ground at the garden tomb, to the grumbling ground of the horrified guards, finally ending at the humbling ground of the risen Jesus. Yes, in just 20 short verses, mankind's future went from bleak to bright – all because of this particular morning's Son-rise.
It’s in verse six of this chapter that we’re first told of the most exciting event in the entire Bible. Jesus, the Crucified One, is now Jesus, the Risen One. Exactly as He’d told His disciples numerous times, Jesus, the Messiah, had risen from the dead. And we will never be the same.
By breaking out of His grave, Jesus has also conquered ours. Death now has no sting. And not only that, His resurrected Life provides something else, something we could never possess without Him: Freedom. Freedom from sin... freedom from guilt. I like the way Paul put it in his first letter to the Corinthians.
But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three – sin, guilt, death – are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God! 1 Corinthians 15:57 (The Message Bible)
Because of Jesus, sin's stain is gone. And for those who trust Him, so is its penalty. What else could we ask for? Well, Jesus gives us even more…
Verse twenty of this chapter has always been special to me because, as a child, I found myself constantly saying good-bye. The life of an Army family was one continuous “departure.” And so, early in my life with God, I claimed this promise from Jesus as my own:
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:20
Jesus is with us always. To Him, we need never say “good-bye.”
And that's a promise.