Today’s daily reading for Holy Week: Matthew 28
Johnna’s reflection on today’s Scripture:
Matthew 28 has only 20 verses but it reveals so much!
Christ is risen! Christ is risen, indeed!
After what appears to be a devastating loss to the disciples in the death of Jesus, imagine their surprise to find out that everything Jesus foretold would be realized! Chapter 28 is filled with life and worship! It also sets the stage for the birth of the church and the mission to follow.
Before dawn on Sunday, an amazing scene unfolds at the tomb. Accompanied by an earthquake, a mighty angel of the Lord descends from heaven right before the guards. He looks like lightening dressed in white. He breaks the seal on the tomb, rolls back the large stone, and sits on it. The guards shake in fear and then faint! (1-4)
Two women, both named Mary, have made their somber walk to the tomb that morning. It had been three days since they witnessed the death of their friend and they arrive on the scene around sunrise to find the angel present and the guards apparently unconscious on the ground.
The angel says, “Do not be afraid.” He then shows them Jesus’ empty tomb and tells them Jesus is risen, just as he said. He gives them a specific message to take back to the disciples.
The women quickly leave to do as instructed, but they are stopped along the way by Jesus Himself! They fall to the ground and take hold of His feet. They recognize that He is the Son of God, risen from the dead, and they worship Him. As the angel did, Jesus tells them not to be afraid and to go and tell His brothers to go to Galilee, where they will see Him. (9-10)
Matthew skips over appearances made by Jesus as described by the other gospel writers. He jumps straight to Jesus’ meeting with the eleven remaining disciples on a mountain in Galilee. Jesus tells them that He is using His authority, given to Him by God the Father, to send them out on their lifelong mission. In this “Great commission,” Jesus commands His disciples to make more disciples of Him.(18-20)
I can only imagine the roller coaster of emotions felt by the two Mary’s and the disciples over the course of these three days.
Speaking of roller coasters, in December, I embarked on a roller coaster ride at Universal Studios called the VelociCoaster.
While waiting in line to board the ride, fear began to set in. It continued to increase at the sound of its screaming passengers and even more as I placed by phone and glasses in a locker, before being locked into my seat on the ride.
The roller coaster ride was terrifying! After surviving it and disembarking. I was both relieved and exhilarated at the same time. Still shaking several minutes later from the adrenaline, I retold the tale to anyone who would listen!
Do you think the Mary’s and the disciples had a similar experience with the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus? Do you think they told others of how Jesus conquered death with that much exhilaration?
As Christians, we are a part of this “Great commission”, tasked with making Disciples of Christ. How are you sharing the good news with others?
Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
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