Sunday 12 April 2020

Bible Book:

‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised ... and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ (vs. 5-7)

Matthew 28:1-10 Sunday 12 April 2020

Psalm: Psalm 118


Matthew describes two women discovering that, three days after his crucifixion, Jesus has been raised from the dead. The account conveys strangeness, mystery and wonder with the sudden, dazzling appearance of an angel, an earthquake that rolls back the tombstone and an empty tomb. It creates an atmosphere in which the listener senses something quite extraordinary is happening.

The raising of Jesus from death is all about God, and beyond ordinary human understanding.

Matthew’s story begins ‘after’ the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath ends as evening falls on Saturday. The Resurrection happens during Saturday evening, early Sunday morning.

Two Marys go to ‘see’ the tomb. Mary Magdalene, one of Jesus’ women followers, and maybe Mary, Jesus’ mother. The verb ‘to see’ has spiritual significance. It suggests the deep seeing of the purposes of God; an insightful seeing.  Jesus had taught that he would be raised on the third day and maybe the Marys have come to check this out against the odds. In Jewish circles women were considered unreliable witnesses. However, God chooses women as the first witnesses to the empty tomb.

The Roman guards who had been instructed to watch the tomb because of Jesus’s teaching about rising after three days are clearly terrified.

The angel tells the women not to be afraid! The same opening words that the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary when he invited her to become the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:30). The angel knows what the Marys are doing without being told by them. God’s call can be quite frightening; takes courage to respond.

Jesus has gone ahead of the disciples back to Galilee, where their shared ministry had its roots. He will ‘see’ them there. The women are given the task to go quickly to tell the disciples. They leave filled with awe and joy. In this strange moment, Jesus is suddenly there and their response is to worship him.


To Ponder:

  • If you had been one of the Marys, what thoughts would have gone through your head?
  • Why is it so difficult to ‘see’ the purposes of God in tough experiences such as the present pandemic? What purposes did the first disciples come to see in Christ’s crucifixion and then resurrection and how might that help us in our present crisis?
  • Why do you think Jesus tells them to meet him in Galilee?
  • What are all the reasons you can think of why the ‘empty’ tomb was important? Perhaps write a short meditation of how God is speaking to you through the empty tomb.
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