The Resurrection (Matt 28:1-15)

As dawn broke on the first Easter morning, Jesus’ first disciples were hiding in their homes. His friends were frightened and fearful for the future:

• At best, they were worried about their livelihoods now that their Master had been taken from them.

• At worst, they were fearing for their lives. Would the authorities want to arrest and execute them, just as they had done to Jesus? Were they next on the list?

But with the resurrection of Jesus their emotions were transformed. With the discovery of the empty tomb and the appearance of the Risen Lord, their fear turned to hope – their despair turned to joy.

This Easter Sunday we face a similar situation. We are all sheltering in our homes, hiding away from the coronavirus.

• Many are fearful of this dreadful disease – fearful of the suffering and death it has already wrought on our country and our world.

• Others are physically healthy, but fearing for their livelihoods. What will the economy be like when this lockdown ends? Will their jobs still be there for them?

But just like the disciples on the first Easter morning, such fears can be overcome. Our apprehension can be alleviated. Because the resurrection of Jesus Christ remains as real and relevant today as it was 2000 years ago. Death, disease and redundancy do not have the last word for disciples of Jesus. They do not define us or control us – then or now.

We can trust Christ’s Words!

The Risen Jesus says to us today the same thing he says to the startled women in today’s passage – “Do not be afraid!” Indeed, if Jesus really is Risen, it means we can trust everything he ever said. If Christ truly is alive, it means all his words have abiding authority.

Christ’s teaching can be trusted as a sure and certain guide to every aspect of life – even when it seems too radical, too counter-cultural, too politically incorrect for our twenty-first century ears.

Forgiveness is possible!

Christ’s resurrection also means total forgiveness is possible. It shows that, at the Cross, Jesus successfully paid off our moral debt to God.

By raising his Son back to life, God was showing the world that his Son really had wiped our slate clean. He was giving his stamp of approval on the atonement achieved by his Son.

The Father was confirming that, through faith in Jesus, sinful human beings really can become his forgiven friends forever.

We can have Hope!

On the first Easter day God the Father breathed new life into his Son’s body. In the most amazing miracle ever, what was mortal became immortal.

And the Bible says that, one day, God will breathe new life into every Christian believer – and into the whole created world in which we live. The events of the first Easter morning are a wonderful foretaste of the resurrection every Christian can look forward to. A glorious prototype of the glory Christians will enjoy in a new heaven and a new earth.

You see, the Resurrection was not a hoax or a hallucination, but the most precious moment in human history. So do not be afraid – just believe!

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