He Is Not Here
The Sabbath has ended, and it is almost dawn on Sunday when the two women head to the tomb. There is an earthquake as an angel descends from heaven, rolls the stone away from the tomb, and then takes a seat on it. The angel's appearance was awesome, and his clothing was white as snow. The Roman guards who have been trained for military service were never prepared for something like this, and they are petrified with fear. The soldiers are not the only ones afraid, so the angel speaks to the women and tells them not to be afraid because he knows they have come seeking Jesus who was crucified. The angel tells the women that Jesus is not there because he had risen just as he promised. He invites them to investigate the tomb, confirm what he says is true, and then he instructs them to tell the disciples post-haste. Jesus was going ahead of them to Galilee where they will see Jesus. The women leave quickly, filled with both fear and joy as they make their way to the disciples. As they make their way to Jerusalem to tell the disciples, Jesus meets them. They fall before Jesus and worship him. They saw Jesus, and he reiterated the instructions to go tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee where they too would see Jesus.
This Story Has Been Spread
The body is gone, the women have left, and the Roman soldiers are facing a serious problem, so some of the guards go into the city to alert the chief priests. The religious leaders call an emergency session to determine the proper course of action and fabricate a story with the cooperation of the guards. They buy off the guards with a sufficient sum of money and a promise to do whatever was necessary to keep them out of trouble with their superiors. The guards were instructed to tell the people they fell asleep and the disciples stole the body under cover of night. These guards were willing to admit dereliction for money and protection. Matthew adds that this story continued to spread for years.
The disciples followed Jesus' instructions and made their way to the mountain in Galilee where they had been directed. Jesus meets them there, but the response to his appearing varied. Some worshiped Jesus, and some doubted Jesus. The risen King addresses the people declaring his absolute sovereignty over all things. Jesus has authority over everything in heaven and on earth. Every enemy is defeated, including the last enemy death and King Jesus reigns. He commissions his servants to go and make disciples of all nations. Jesus' directive is not a suggestion or an option. The king with all authority commands his servants to go and make disciples. Disciples should be baptized and taught to obey in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The king demands allegiance and obedience along with the promise to always be with his servants. The King lives. The King reigns. The King is near. Long live King Jesus!
Things To Consider:
- How many places can you think of where angels announce something about Jesus?
- How do these women show great faith?
- Why is the most often used command fear not?
- How do you think seeing Jesus impacted their understanding of what the angel told them?
- Why do the religious leaders bribe the soldiers?
- Why do you think some worshiped and some doubted?
- What do you think made some people doubt?
- Why does Jesus tell his followers that he has all authority before he commissions them?
- Are you making disciples? Why or why not?
- Why are people baptized?
- How does Jesus comfort his followers as he departs?
- What should someone do when they feel alone?