Week 17: Day 1 - Sunday (April 21, 2019) Easter
Apr 21 Matthew 28:1-10 Resurrection/Easter
How wonderful finally to reach the stories of Jesus’ resurrection! They give us wonderful truth and wonderful comfort. In our day to day longing for peace, for love, for assurance, Jesus appears to provide us all those things and more!
It’s interesting to compare the different accounts of that great event. Each Gospel has a slightly different version. In Matthew, Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (that is, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and of the sons of Zebedee: Matt. 27:56). The two Marys were actually at the tomb when the stone was rolled over the entry (27:60-61).
In our passage, the two Marys return to the tomb, not to put spices on the body (since it was already sealed and under guard), but to grieve. They were present at the resurrection itself: the earth quaked, the angel appeared, and the Roman guards collapsed. The angel told them not to be afraid, for Jesus had risen, and that they should see the empty tomb and then tell the disciples. As they left, Jesus appeared to them and, as they worshiped him, he said, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
There are wonderful things in this passage. One is certainly the courage and faith of the women. Where are Jesus’ male disciples? They had deserted him at the time of his arrest (26:56) and missed Jesus’ sufferings and death.
In spite of that betrayal, however, Jesus still calls him “my brothers.” Jesus’ forgiveness and grace are generous even for those who most let him down. There is surely grace and blessing for us, too!
What is the significance of Galilee? It takes us full circle, to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry as depicted in Matthew. In 4:12-17, we learn that after his temptations in the wilderness, Jesus lived in Galilee, which was associated with both Jews and Gentiles. Jesus announced a kingdom of peace and blessing for both Jews and non-Jews.
We are all so used to Easter Sunday, we may miss the joy of the day. Amid our struggles and difficulties, Jesus’ presence comes to us anew and bids us to have courage and assurance!
by Paul Stroble