He is going ahead of you.

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day seven)

“Come and SEE. . .go quickly and TELL. . .’He is going ahead of you into Galilee.’ “–v 7

When the women arrived to announce the news of the resurrection, it had a very practical feel.  “Pack your bags, everyone.”  “This train is leaving the station.”  That’s what the disciples heard.

The angel did more than announce that Christ was alive.  He declared that Jesus was their leader again!  The days ahead would be as filled with victory and discovery as the previous days had been.  How exciting!

Still true!  Jesus is AS alive THIS morning as He was THAT morning.  We, in our expectation and joy, should be like the disciples on that fear-shattering Sunday morning. Say it to yourself.  Out loud.  “He is going ahead of me.”  “He knows the way.”  “If I go to the next place, He will meet me there.”   It is what risen Saviors do for people who obey them.

 

Disciples Making Disciples

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day six)

Have you ever made a disciple of Jesus? Jesus makes himself clear that we are to go and make disciples. It is not really a recommendation or a suggestion, it is a command. It is a command that rests on his authority as the resurrected Son of God. The very existence of His church today is evidence that the disciples obeyed this great commission. What if the hope of this nation (and every nation) is not the next elected president, but His church (that’s us at FBCSA) obeying this command today? The truth is you were elected over two thousand years ago to be a disciple who makes disciples.

Do you know how to do that? It’s probably time we all learn. I’m in, are you?

The Kindness of Jesus

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day five)

The women who went to the tomb were told, “do not fear”, and to “go and tell the His disciples” (Matthew 28:5, 7).   They left in obedience. Don’t let this fact be ignored. They showed great courage and trust to obey the commands of the angel.

Yet, Matthew says they had fear (28:8). Why the fear? I believe the answer is found in their encounter with the Risen Jesus as they made their way back to the disciples. He again repeated the words of the Angel (Do not be afraid). But in this exchange, he changes a word. He uses the word “brothers” instead of “disciples”. Why? Could it be that the women were worried about what this meant (judgment, punishment, shame, guilt) for the disciples? Jesus extends His kindness to the women and to the disciples by calming their fears and proclaiming a word of assurance and love. He calls them His brothers.

Anyone need to be reminded of His kindness today?

Not an Option

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day four)

In the book, Spiritual Warfare and Missions by Jerry Rankin and Ed Stetzer, it is pointed out that in Matthew 28:18-20, God’s Word is a command. A command is not optional. If we were to say to our children, “would you help with dishes?”…we would not really be asking a question that allows for an option for obedience. We would be giving a polite command with every expectation of obedience. One of Satan’s tactics, to delay or deter the advancement of God’s Word across the nations, is to convince the church that obedience to this command is optional. Rankin and Stetzer warn that Satan diverts our attention from our original mission and focuses us on programs and projects that keep us from taking the Gospel to the nations. If we begin to speak in terms of volunteering for missions, we have lost our focus. We are commanded…we don’t volunteer!

Don’t

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day three)

“Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.'” Before Jesus walked among us, the command not to fear invited us to trust God in the middle of the reality that the grave was never far away: The Lord would protect us from death. Now, after Jesus’s resurrection, the command not to fear invites us to trust God who has altered reality: The Lord has defeated death. The death of a perfect man was necessary to pay sin’s terrible price. And so, Jesus tells us, don’t fear. Don’t fear, because his death was the last death–the last necessary death. We could still die, but it would be the result of rejecting Christ. “I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.” Don’t be afraid, because you don’t have to die.

Sitting Angels

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day two)

“And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.” vs 2

There are so many action words in this narrative: earthquake, descended, rolled, fear, ran, and sat. I remember one Easter Sunday School class when we were studying this text a friend was amazed by the angel. With all that was happening and the confusion that an empty tomb surely caused, the angel was sitting as if to say, “I’m just waiting for you to catch up.” After all isn’t this what Jesus had been saying for some time? Surely a messenger of Heaven was aware of the plan, and must have been amused at observing the chaos from the comfort of sitting on the stone.

God can always be found in the midst of our chaos. Things not go as planned? Household falling apart? Job in jeopardy? Diagnosis grim? It doesn’t matter, Jesus is there patiently waiting for us to acknowledge his presence in the room. Before the chaos takes control of you, find him and rejoice that he lives.

He is risen! I am too!

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 28:1-10, 16-20 (day one)

“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ “–v 18.

It is such familiar scripture that we tend to miss the obvious (and amazing) point.  Jesus, raised to life by the power of God, comes to the disciples and raises them to new life as well.  New purpose came with His  words.  New power came 10 days later at Pentecost.  They were never the same.  He did not intend them to be.

Paul taught us this hunger.  “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.”Philippians 2:10.  The Scripture teaches this truth.  “Buried with Him through baptism into death. . . raised. . .to walk in newness of life.”–Romans 6:4.

The Resurrection of Christ was an earthquake with moral and spiritual aftershocks felt, even today, in the life of every believer.  He is risen!  I am too!

Welcome!

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 27:32-54 (day seven)

“At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.”–v 51.

I still remember the conversation.  Young man.  Bright.  Youth camp. We were talking about how people dress for worship.  (His normal pattern was shorts and flip flops).

Me–“you wouldn’t dress that way to meet the President of the United States”.

Him —“I would if the President was my Daddy.”

The torn-in-two-temple-veil reflects a similar idea.  What formerly was formal and foreboding was transformed, by the death of Christ, into a warm welcome from God into His presence and help.

We still fear God.  See Proverbs 1:7.  But not in a way that causes us to avoid Him for fear of condemnation.

“He predestined us to adoption as sons.”–Ephesians 1:5. “Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”–Hebrews 4:16.

The Death of Death

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 27:32-54 (day six)

“And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.” Matthew 27:51-53

Matthew paints for us a powerful picture of the cataclysmic effect the Cross had on all of human history, past, present and future. It was universe shaking. The great curtain secluding the Holy of Holies was rendered in two, the ground shook and rocks split, and the dead rose again! Nothing would ever be the same! Jesus had declared to Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life!” And in the span of three days Jesus made that a reality, not only for himself, but for all who would believe. Sin and death was shaken to its core and witnessed the foreshadowing of its own death, while all the faithful, then up to now, experience righteous restoration and new life! What a beautiful destiny of seismic magnitude: the death of death and new life!

The Rest of the Story

Re: Verse reading–Matthew 27:32-54 (day five)

There are many people that share experiences and conversations with Jesus in the gospel narratives. Ever wonder what happened to them? Did they follow Christ? Did they influence others to become believers? Would they become leaders and teachers?

Remember Paul Harvey’s radio program- “The Rest of the Story”?

We get a little snippet about the “rest of the story” for Simon the Cyrene. We look to Mark 15:21 to find that not only is his name listed, but also the names of his sons. If he was just a member of the crowd that day, how did the gospel writers know his name and the names of his sons? Maybe Simon’s encounter was life changing, not only for him but for his family as well. It is possible they all became believers and joined the community of believers to the degree that their names were known?

Reflect back to your first experience/encounter with Jesus. Remember how life changing it was? Will you tell and influence others?