Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tell the Story - Part 2

He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go quickly from the tomb and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead ...So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell His disciples." Matthew 28:6-8 ESV



Christ's death on the cross shouts of miraculous events from darkness to the tearing of the Temple's curtain in the Holy of Holies, from an earthquake to people rising from the dead. The Roman officer and soldiers at the crucifixion, "were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, 'Truly, this was the Son of God!'" (Mt: 27:54)  Religious leaders who were secret followers of Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, boldly ask Pilate for the body of Jesus for proper burial. From Friday until Sunday, fear dominates the hearts and minds of Jesus' own disciples. On Sunday the message of the angel, "He is risen!", echoes in the empty tomb.

All four Gospels speak of the empty tomb, of angels, of the resurrection of Jesus. First to learn of the resurrection are the women who come to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body for burial. In John's account (chapter 20) Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene in the garden. Jesus joins the two returning to Emmaus, both are disillusioned that Jesus has been crucified. As they walk together, Jesus explains the Scriptures and prophecies about the Messiah. Invited to eat with them, they recognize Jesus when He blesses the bread. They hurry back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples. Jesus appears to the disciples who are in hiding in fear, greeting them, "Peace be with you." The angels' message to go and tell that Jesus is risen from the dead spreads throughout the region.

Jesus remains on earth for 40 days after His resurrection. Initially, the story of His resurrection sounds absurd and hard to believe, but the Good News of Jesus' victory over death changes doubt into wonder and fear into joy! Jesus teaches the disciples, opening their minds to the the Scriptures that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise from the dead on the third day. He reminds them the Holy Spirit will soon come and empower them. This message of forgiveness and everlasting life are for all people. These followers of Jesus, these witnesses of a risen Savior begin to tell the story of resurrection and hope! This story of extravagant love still brings grace today. ~dho