Matthew 28

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Greetings,

The Resurrection

 1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. 2There 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. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

 5The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then 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.”

 8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

This is the central point of human history.  If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead then his death on the cross wouldn’t have mattered. 

It is interesting that women were the first witnesses.  Women couldn’t even testify in court in that culture, so if the Disciples made up this story they did a pretty lousy job of it. 

The Guards’ Report

 11While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15So 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 lie of the Guards and the Jews just doesn’t make sense.  The Disciples were obviously not courageous enough to come steal Jesus’ body, especially if they were convinced that He was still dead.  And if the Guards were asleep, how did they know what had happened?  It was a major issue to fall asleep while on duty, as a soldier could be killed for that.

Other fanciful explanations have been offered, such as that Jesus wasn’t really dead on the cross.  But the Romans were skilled at executions and they wouldn’t have overlooked such a highly visible one as this.  And a “resurrected” Jesus in such a state wouldn’t have inspired the changes in the Disciples that we see.

The only explanation that logically fits the facts is that Jesus really rose from the dead as promised.

The Great Commission

 16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Consider Jesus final words before ascending into Heaven: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  That is what we should be doing as Christians.  He is with us always. 

What stood out to you, and why?

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