Turn in your Bible to Luke 24:1-12. This passage is about the battle of faith. Are we going to trust God's Word, or are we going to succumb to unbelief? Jesus Himself does not appear to anyone in the story that Luke has recorded here. This is significant because Luke is pointing our attention to something else that is faith producing, and that is the Word of God, the words of Christ.

It was the crack of dawn on what we call Sunday. When Jesus was removed from the cross, it was so near to the beginning of the Sabbath that the disciples only had time to hurriedly prepare His body. So these women were on their way to the tomb with spices to complete the preparation of Jesus’ body. But when they get there, the stone has been rolled away, and Jesus’ body is not there. Luke records for us what their reaction was: “They were perplexed.” They were almost undone. They were beside themselves.

Now, I do not in any way want to diminish the love and devotion of these women for Jesus, but Luke is telling us that, whatever else motivated those women to go to the tomb, part of their mission was based in their unbelief. Jesus had already told them He was not going to be in that tomb, and the very fact that they went to that tomb expecting Him to be there is an indication that they didn't believe what He said! Luke makes it clear that that's an issue in this passage, because when the angel begins to speak, he says, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” The very first words of the angel are an indication that there was a faith problem here. They hadn't listened to Jesus.

Look next at the exhortation in verse 6: “Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” The exhortation is, “Remember Jesus’ words! You will not be able to make sense of any of this unless you remember Jesus’ words.” Then Luke, just in case we missed it, tells us in verse 8 that the women remembered His words. This is the point that Luke is driving home to us here. The way we live the Christian life, the way we grow in grace, is by believing the Word of God. The exhortation to remember Jesus’ words is the angel's direction of faith to these women, explaining to them that they will not be able to understand these events apart from Jesus’ words.

That's how it is in the whole of the Christian life. We don't read the Word of God through the light of our life; we read our lives through the light of the Word of God. It is the Word of God that frames our understanding of everything that happens in life. That's vital in the Christian life, and it's so often a challenge. Have you ever had some perplexing tragedy or circumstance, and you can't get your head around it? It's not that you reject or disbelieve the Word of God. You believe the Word of God, but you’re laboring to put one foot in front of the other, and you’re trying to get back to where you can say, as we often sing, “Yes, Lord, You are my best thought by day or by night.” The angel is saying you will not get there until you remember Jesus’ words because Jesus’ words, God's words, are life-giving and faith-producing.

Have you ever had that experience where finally what gives you equilibrium again is a sudden rest in the knowledge of what God says in His Word? It's not that you understand everything about your situation; it's that you rest in God's Word. It may be a passage that you've read a thousand times, but it is as if Luke wrote it five minutes ago and handed it to you. What's happened? The Word of God has interpreted your life back to you, and suddenly you’re able to rest in God's providence because God's Word interprets the events of your life.

But the angel is saying to these women, “If you’re going to respond to the resurrection the right way, the way to begin is in remembering Jesus’ words.” And the women remember. And everything they do in the rest of this passage has all the marks of faith. They go running back to the apostles and they say, “Let us tell you what we saw and what the angels said to us!” Even when the apostles blow them off they persist in their belief. They’re the example of how to respond to this exhortation in this passage.

This is so important because the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is at the root of our hope. We all need hope, but we don't need unsubstantiated hope. We need real hope, and that hope comes from the resurrection. The resurrection is the very ground of your assurance of forgiveness of sins. In the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, God is publicly revealing that He has accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sins, and He is vindicating Jesus’ person. There is nothing you need more than forgiveness of sin, and the resurrection is where that hope comes from. That's why we need to remember the words of Jesus.

But the resurrection also reminds us that we love and serve and worship a living Savior. The angels said it, didn't they? “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” He's a living Savior. That means you can talk to Him. It means that He is interceding for you. It means that He comes and dwells in the midst of His people whenever two or three are gathered in His name. It means that He is a Good Shepherd who walks with you in the valley of the shadow of death. And it's important that we understand the resurrection because our ultimate hope is not that we will go off in the spirit world but that our bodies will be raised out of the tomb and be glorified and united with our souls, and we will live with God forever.

The angel is saying this because it is a first principle of the Christian life. It is the Word of God that produces the faith that we need to live the Christian life. God is the proper object of faith; Jesus is the proper object of faith, but God's Word is part and parcel of our trust in God and in Jesus. You cannot say, “I trust Jesus but not His Word.” There are all sorts of people out there, ministers of the Gospel, trying to tell Christians how to live the Christian life apart from belief in the Word of God. It can't be done! The way to live the Christian life is to remember Jesus’ words.

I can't imagine a better response to this than to be determined that we're going to be in the Word like never before. It's not that by faithfully doing your devotions each day this month all the problems of life are solved, but very often the day-to-day preparation work that you’re doing by being in the Word is what God's Spirit uses when you need it, when the time of trials come, because it is remembering what Jesus said that not only gives us equilibrium but produces faith and life in the Christian life.