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A mother checks her phone for the tenth time. Previously she had received news that her soldier son had been wounded in battle, but she knows nothing more than that. After many long, agonizing hours, she finally gets a text that reads, “Just a scratch, Mom. Don’t worry. It’s okay!”

“It’s okay” can be two of the most comforting words in the English language. But what about when things aren’t so great? Isn’t it true that the words “it’s okay” can sound all too meaningless? Don’t people often use them when they can’t think of anything else to say?

For Mary Magdalene, “it’s okay” certainly would have sounded hollow and empty early that first Easter morning. Not only was her Lord dead and buried, she soon discovered that His body was gone from the tomb. “It must have been stolen,” she sorrowfully concludes. This is the last straw. Her whole world is crashing down upon her, and she just can’t take any more!

Mary and Jesus

Present day comparisons are easy to find. The faithful wife whose husband has deserted her. The parents whose newborn child has died. The conscience constantly plagued by the memory of some terrible sin. For these people, much more is needed than “it’s okay.”

Going back to the garden tomb, we see the rising sun showing Mary’s tear-stained face. Glancing into the grave she sees two angels in white. “‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.'” (John 20:13)

But someone else is there. Blinded by her tears, she doesn’t recognize Him at first. But then He gently speaks her name. “Mary.” Yes, it’s Jesus, in the flesh very much alive! In that unforgettable moment everything becomes way better than OKAY! The anguish of the past three days vanishes away and is replaced by unspeakable joy!

The two words “it’s okay” are altogether meaningful when you add the three words He is risen! In fact, if Jesus is not risen, then nothing can ever really be okay! As the sin-corrupted descendants of Adam, we could never in a million years rise above the sin, death, and hell which plague our lives and would have destroyed us forever if not for Easter morning.

But now Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Put yourself in Mary’s place. Stand with Jesus beside His vacant tomb. Make Mary’s unforgettable moment your life-long joy! He is risen! So now it’s okay! It really is!

This doesn’t mean that you won’t have problems in this life. Jesus plainly says, “In the world you will have tribulation.” (John 16:33) But with the risen and living God at your side, you can face all your troubles with certain confidence and lasting joy!

It’s okay! No matter how many times you’ve messed up, your sins have been buried in Jesus’ tomb, removed from God’s sight forever! “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12)

It’s okay! When Jesus rose, it was the ultimate demonstration that good had overcome evil. Now nothing can defeat those who belong to the God Who has triumphed over Satan and all his demonic host. “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)

It’s okay! When Jesus left the tomb, death was forced to take a permanent vacation! Nothing can keep your body, dear Christian, from being raised and glorified on the last day—the day on which God will wipe away every last tear from your eyes (Revelation 21:4).

With Jesus as your Risen Lord and Savior it is most certainly OKAY!

(Please open your Bible and read John 20:1-18.)

Michael Wilke is pastor of Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Saginaw, Michigan, and president of the Church of the Lutheran Confession.