He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Resurrection of Our Lord
Matthew 28:1-10 (NRSV)
Proclaim the resurrection
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.' This is my message for you." So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of 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."
Alleluia, he is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
I don’t know about you, but I feel positively giddy today. As I kept vigil last night and into the morning, my heart felt like it was beating toward 6:16am and the Easter SON-rise in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
There is just something so wonderful about Resurrection Morning! It’s not just the festive decorations and beautiful flowers. It’s not just the pretty little girls in dresses and little boys in suits. It’s not just the many friends and family members who join us in worship, or the exalted singing from the choirs…
It’s all of this but it is also so much more…It is the wonderful message of Easter, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said…”
This is a most magnificent message…and it is the means by which we find our JOY as Christians!
First of all, the angel said, “Do not be afraid.” See, the Lenten journey teaches us that there are many things to be scared of in this world. We are rightly afraid of sin, death, and the grave. We are rightly afraid of tornados, tsunamis, and nuclear meltdowns. We are rightly afraid of financial collapse, war, and terrorism. We are rightly afraid of divorce, layoffs, and wayward children.
I could go on and on…But, on Easter morning, God’s message to us is, “Do not be afraid!”
Because Jesus lives, there is always hope for the future. Because Jesus lives, all of the darkness of our lives is banished away. Because Jesus lives, he has been proven triumphant over all of the things that go bump in the night…
Whilst this certainly doesn’t mean that bad or scary things won’t happen, it does mean that they never get the last word in the life of a Christian. Our joy is made complete when we bathe ourselves in the blessed assurance, that because Jesus is alive and victorious, we shall be also!
Secondly, the angel said, “I know that you are seeking Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified.”
Isn’t this what Easter is all about—We come seeking Jesus! We come to worship and bow down. We come to lift up our hands and our voices. We come to sing out a new song of joy and victory!
With our lips and with our hearts we are ever proclaiming, “Alleluia! He is risen. He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!” Our Jesus is no longer lost to the crowds, to the cross, or to the tomb. The heavy hearts of the disciples were banished on that first Easter day, just as our heavy hearts are banished 2011 years later with the good news proclamation, “He is risen!”
Isn’t it a grand thing that none of our Good Fridays are the end of the story as Christians?
No matter what we are going through, when we are in Christ, Easter is always right around the corner. Easter promise. Easter hope. Easter resurrection. And although some things may die in our lives, we can be certain that we serve a God who specializes in miracles and who is well able to redeem and renew our circumstances on a daily basis.
Finally, the angel said, “He is not here; for he has been raised, just as he said.”
Aren’t you glad our Jesus is a promise keeper? Throughout his ministry Jesus told his disciples that he would be betrayed, handed over to sinners, beaten and killed, and laid in a tomb…BUT (say but), on the third day he would rise from the dead!
I am so glad that Jesus did what he said he would do. I am so glad that Jesus is a promise keeper and way maker. I am so glad that our Lord did not stay dead, but got up just like he promised that he would.
Since God kept this most essential promise, we can know and believe that he will keep every other promise he has ever made to us. God will give us refuge. God will give us strength. God will give us rest. God will give us peace. God will give us strength. God will give us power. God will give us protection. God will give us wisdom. Most of all God will give us unconditional love, amazing grace, and eternal life!
Alleluia, he is risen! He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
How shall we respond to this most wonderful message? The angel said, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said.”
Then he told the women, “go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has been raised from the dead…”
The response to such good news is to go quickly and tell someone, “Jesus has been risen from the dead.”
Our Lenten theme this year was, “Finding JOY: A Lenten Journey to Easter.” And today, we have found our Joy in Jesus, for he is the only true Joy-giver.
Matthew records that upon hearing the good news message the women, “left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell the disciples…
This should be our response today…Let us run and tell somebody that Jesus is alive! And as we run, rest assured, that we will undoubtedly bump into Jesus along the way…who will once again tells us, “Do not be afraid, just go tell…”
Go tell that I love you. Go tell that I died for you. Go tell that I rose again for you. Go tell…that I am waiting.
Jesus is waiting. Jesus is waiting. Jesus is waiting. Do you see Him?
Alleluia! He is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
If you have questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, “Come to Jesus” @ http://bit.ly/JVhaLta