Matthew 28:1-10 (NIV) - Jesus Has Risen
28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 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. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 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.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Like the birth of Jesus, we can easily retell the story of the death of Jesus and forget the magnitude of both. It's about the before, during and after.
What was endured.
What happens after that endurance has been tested to a level no one can comprehend.
What he endured for us.
And then there is the ‘after’, for the disciples and, first and foremost, for the two Mary's. They didn’t see it coming. To be in the midst of grief, have an angel appear and tell you that someone you loved dearly is no longer in the tomb and for you to see that and then be told to go tell the disciples that Jesus will see them in Galilee would have been too much too handle. I would have needed the adrenaline to have kicked in pretty quickly. It’s just too many emotions in such a short space of time. It’s like they were going through the stages of grief in nanoseconds.
What I do find interesting about this passage though is that Jesus, after rising from the dead and then appearing to the two Mary’s can seem to come across as ‘normal’ about the whole situation. He’s continuing to carry out plans and expects everyone to get on with it.
For me, we see the humility of Jesus once again. Never did Jesus want the fanfare or applause from anybody during his life. He never in that period of torture before and while he was on the cross shouted out:
‘Hey everyone! Remember what I did for a lot of you! I multiplied fish and loaves for you so you wouldn’t go hungry. I healed 10 of you who were once lepers and although only one of you came back to thank me, that didn’t bother me. I made you see again. I turned water into wine, and that is only naming a few. I listened. I wept for you but most importantly I loved you so You owe me…a lot’.
Never did that pass his lips. Love was never used as a tool of abuse or power.
Jesus didn’t want to downplay anything he did because it had real substance and change but he wanted to do things in a quiet manner; making sure that people were fed, lepers were healed, the blind could see and all for our sake; that we would know the Father’s love for us. He was crucified so we would have direct access to the Father.
I, of course, do not want to belittle what Jesus did and He didn’t want to belittle anything that the Father has for us. How often have we as Christians, tried to put on a show for everyone else. To dress up humility and have it parade around and for it to become something else. Pride. Ego. Jealousy. What have we done to humility and how do we get back to what Jesus did? In this passage Jesus doesn't want us to forget what he did. But he wants us to continue on and step up, to get our hands dirty and stop looking for applause.
Here is the the start of a new life, a new chapter for the the disciples and for those they encounter in the future. Everything he did before when he was alive was helping equip others. He’s not leaving us to fend for ourselves because He is always with us, ready to give us more when we need it.
I love when he appears to the two Mary’s and they grasp his feet and like the angel in the Christmas story tells them to not be afraid. Something new is happening. A new life for all of us. A blank slate. A direct access to God. A stripping back. Back to basics.
The death and resurrection of Jesus, like the birth of Jesus is a message that love is for all of us. That there is redemption. There is a chance to move on and step up into who we truly are.
Susie Keegan is a creative, a font nerd, a graphic designer and the Church of Ireland Chaplain to Dublin Institute of Technology with 11 years experience in youth work. Use ‘Comic Sans’ in the wrong context and you’ll feel her wrath! Being an author on this blog has really pushed her comfort zone and she is very happy to be part of this community.