Fear Mixed with Joy

So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.

And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” (Matthew 28:8-10)

Our emotions are a jumbled mess sometimes, aren’t they?

That’s the first thing that stands out to me in this passage. The women hear the news about Jesus’ resurrection…from an angel no less! And what is their emotional reaction? A mix of fear and joy.

Fear and joy. They don’t seem to go together, do they?

In Mark’s account, he describes the women’s emotions like this: And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid (Mark 16:8).

The words that Mark uses really capture the thoughts and emotions of these women. They were “seized” with “trembling and astonishment.”

“Trembling” (Greek, tromos) is defined like this: “Fear and trembling, used to describe the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfill his duty” (Thayer).

“Astonishment” (Greek, ekstasis) literally has the idea of being “thrown out of one’s normal state of mind.” It is defined like this: “amazement, the state of one who, either owing to the importance or the novelty of an event, is thrown into a state of blended fear and wonderment” (Thayer).

Can you identify with those kind of emotions? Basically these women were thrown for a loop. They didn’t know what to think, how to act, what to do next. Matthew says they were running to tell the disciples but Mark says they, at first, were too afraid to do anything. They were joyful but fearful. Hopeful but skeptical. Ecstatic but overwhelmed. Running to tell the good news but afraid to speak it at the same time.

In the midst of their emotional turmoil, Matthew tells us that Jesus eventually showed up. His first words to them were “Rejoice!” and “Do not be afraid.” In other words, He sorted through their emotions and told them to let go of their fear and fully embrace their joy.

Maybe that’s what we need to hear today. In the midst of our jumbled emotions, our confusion, our fears, our stress, the resurrected Lord is telling us. “Rejoice! Do not fear! Put your fear in My hands, look at who I am, and rejoice!”

Rejoice in the Lord, always, and again I say rejoice! (Philippians 4:4).

We are not commanded to rejoice because life is always wonderful and we don’t have any problems. We are commanded to rejoice because Jesus Christ is risen and we have a hope beyond the pain, beyond the grave. We don’t have to fear because Jesus is alive…and He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Rejoice! Shout a “hallelujah” wherever you are…even it makes the other people around you a little nervous :>). Scripture tells us that rejoicing is a privilege for the saint and a blessing to the soul.

It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning,
And Your faithfulness every night. 

Psalm 92:1-2

Here is a good worship song to get your soul stirred this morning:

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