Jesus Has Risen
28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The Guards’ Report
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
This week has seemed like a marathon of reading, and then today’s chapter which is significantly shorter. It ends rather abruptly, not a lot of detail like some of the gospels regarding the resurrection of Jesus.
What I find interesting is the religious leaders still, after all they witnessed when Jesus died, still went to the Roman authorities and conspired to spread lies about the disappearance of Jesus. Even though they did not succeed in getting rid of “Christianity”, they did succeed in planting doubt in many people. We can only guess how many people strayed away from faith in Jesus because of this. Doubt is a powerful weapon we see Satan use over and over again. We see some of the 11 disciples even doubted when they saw Jesus in Galilee. But yet they still worship Him and as we will read in future readings, they all were obedient to do what He asked of them.
And this leads us to the rather quick ending to this book. Jesus proclaims His authority over Heaven and Earth, and instructs the disciples with one of the most important passages of scripture in the bible, in my opinion. “Go make disciples…” giving us all a clear mission and purpose for each of our lives. How we will go about doing this will be our life long challenge. But one thing is clear, we each have a part to play.
Jesus also mentions in His last instructions to the disciples to go to make disciples of all nations. A bit of foreshadowing here that I don’t think the disciples understood at this moment, but all nations meant all nations, not just the Isrealites. We know that Peter had a hard time accepting that at first when, in the book of Acts, Jesus instructed him to preach even to the gentiles. And Paul too. God’s plan included all mankind. Praise God for that!
Good Friday is close. By now, Judas would have already been plotting to sell out Jesus. Somewhere within the next 24 hours, Jesus would have been in the Garden, praying. Judas, along with the guards, would have found him there and had Him arrested. The disciples would have scattered and ran for their very lives. Jesus is placed in the prison system, standing before the religious and Roman leaders. The events happened very quickly. Jesus faced each of these trials willingly for us. Let’s continue to remember that today.
God, you are so good. You sent your Son to this world to be a light and the truth for us. Despite the lies and treachery, Your Word prevailed. No amount of planted doubts and lies could overcome your plan for mankind. Thank you God for loving us so much that you want each of us in your kingdom. You call us who have accepted what Jesus did on the cross your heirs, your children. What an incredible privilege, help us not to take it lightly. You are awesome and mighty. In Jesus name, amen.
God bless you all! Tomorrow we will being reading through the book of Romans