Week of April 24: Christ is risen! Good News meant to be shared
By DOREEN SMALLS
Lesson scripture: Matthew 28:1-17
The Gospel of Matthew concludes with the resurrection of Christ and the commissioning of the disciples. The gospel is the Good News because it does not end with the cross. The cross is the gateway to eternal life. The empty tomb lets us know that God raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus commands us as he did the disciples and the women to go and share the Good News with the world.
The first Easter words spoken
Fear is a common emotion that everyone has experienced. Some people are afraid of heights while others are apprehensive about speaking in public. With uncertain economic conditions, people fear losing their homes, their jobs and their health insurance. Due to constant reports of crime and violence, some people are concerned about their safety.
Matthew’s gospel narrates the fear experienced by those at the tomb of Jesus. Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” were visiting the burial site of Jesus. “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” (Matthew 28:2). The angel shined like lightning and his garments were white as snow. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified” (Matthew 28: 5).
It is definitely understandable why these women would be frightened by these events. These were not ordinary events. It wasn’t every day that an angel appeared during the midst of an earthquake and a body went missing from the tomb. The phrase “do not be afraid” offered Mary Magdalene and the other Mary calm assurance and trust. These Easter words were not only an invitation to trust for the two Marys but they also beckon us to banish our fears and place our faith in the risen Christ. We serve a risen Savior who has overcome death. Because of our faith in him, we can overcome any fear in our lives.
The first Easter evangelists
After the angel of Lord appeared to the women, he urged them to look in the grave. He stated, “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” (Matthew 28:). The angel wanted to show them that Jesus had been raised from the dead just as he had promised. After discovering Jesus was not there, they “left the tomb with great joy and fear.”
While they were overwhelmed with joy they also experienced some anxiety. They were excited to know their beloved Lord was alive but they were also scared. But they did not allow their fear to prevent them from spreading the Good News. Like the women, it is not unusual for us to feel mixed emotions about situations. During this season of appointment making, some clergy are excited about their new assignment as well as little anxious about going to a new place or setting in ministry. While it is human nature to fear, we must not allow the fear to overcome our faith. 2 Timothy reminds us that God has not given us a spirit of fear.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary did not allow their fear to overcome their faith. At the now emptied tomb, the women were given a command. They were instructed to go and tell. The women left boldly proclaiming that Christ had risen.
And when they met Jesus, they fell down and worshiped Him. Like the angel did before, Jesus told them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10). The message Jesus gave to the women is the same message for us today. Easter is not only a celebration about the fact the Savior was raised from the dead. It also includes going and telling others that Christ has risen. The Easter message does not end with Sunday worship service but it continues into our daily lives.
What hinders you from sharing the Easter message in your daily lives?