He has Risen! (10-04-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 118:1-2
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Let Israel say: "His love endures forever."
Bible Reading: Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week,
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 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."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said.
They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them,
"Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
It is Sunday morning, the day after the Sabbath when, in your sorrow, you make your way to the source of your grief to observe the rituals of burial. Just when you think the worst is over, a violent earthquake shakes the ground, an angel appears like lightening. You are filled with fear.
There was a violent earthquake when God the Son died on a cross a few days before and the whole created order was thrown into confusion. Now the earth shakes again as hell cannot contain him. Jesus the Saviour of the world has conquered sin and death and rises for the dead.
And into the confusion the angel speaks the immortal words, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen.’
Stunned by the revelation, you hurry away from the tomb ‘afraid yet filled with joy’ to tell your friends. And on the way you meet the risen Jesus who repeats to you the words of the angel, ‘Do not be afraid’.
Grief over the death of a loved one, or of any other loss in life, can lead to a state of anxiety and fear. As we revisit those situations, either physically or emotionally, let us listen to the words of the angel for ourselves, ‘Do not be afraid, he is not here, he is risen.’ Into the traumas of daily living, the resurrection Jesus bursts to bring new life and hope.
And to each of us who have received the risen Christ, he continues, ‘Go and tell…’
I wonder if there is someone you could encourage today with the Good News, ‘He has risen!’
Risen Lord, thank you that, into the confusion, grief and fear of life
you bring your transforming resurrected life.