Painful and Searing Images
Text: Matthew 28 : 1 - 20
The darkness that hung over the land at the crucifixion of Jesus may have lifted after His death. The darkness that hung over the heads of the disciples of Jesus had stayed on, threatening to overwhelm all of them. The Passover was probably the gloomiest one ever celebrated. How could they celebrate knowing and fearing the worst – that Jesus would suffer and die before the end of the day?
The visual image of Jesus crucified left an indelible mark on those who witnessed it. How could they forget the sight and sound of Jesus nailed to the cross? How could they remove the picture of a soldier piercing His side? Then came the confirmation – Jesus really was dead! The soldiers in charge gave their report to the Governor. Whereas they had to break the legs of the other two prisoners to hasten their death, they confirmed that Jesus was already dead! Every bit of pain that Jesus had to endure was probably felt by the disciples who watched Him die. What could take away the searing pain that was still felt deep in the soul?
THE POWER OF GOD AT WORK
At the invitation of the angel of the Lord, the women disciples stepped gingerly into the tomb of Jesus. It was all true! The tomb was empty! Jesus had risen from the dead!
“So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear
and great joy, and ran to bring the disciples word.”
“They went out quickly from the tomb”
There was nothing to see inside the tomb. It was a new tomb. No one had used the tomb before. There was no reason to linger inside the empty tomb.
“With fear and great joy”
The power that has raised Jesus from the dead was now at work in the hearts of the women disciples. The fear had not totally gone away, but with each passing moment, those fears gave way to something else – GREAT JOY!
Only the power of God at work in their hearts could have removed the terrible images that they had seen! Where once they might have felt that they would never know joy again, after they had witnessed the death of Jesus, a new and special sense of joy filled their hearts! There was only one thing to do. They must obey the word of the angel of the Lord that Jesus had sent to them! They must tell their brethren what they had seen.
“And ran to bring the disciples word”
Children are given to running. That is their nature! The older one gets, the less likely is one to run. There could be one exception! The news of the resurrection of Jesus gave their feet wings. The women disciples could not just walk calmly to the men disciples as if the resurrection of Jesus was a common event! Yes, they ran to bring the disciples word! No news could be better or greater!
One wonders how the women must have related the news to the other disciples! Jesus had risen from the dead! The tomb was empty! They had just seen some angels! Jesus has gone to Galilee. He awaits all of them there! These words must have tumbled out of their lips in rapid fire! Who could have blamed them if they did not sound terribly coherent at first! But there was no mistaking the great joy that appeared on their faces! The resurrection of Jesus had impacted the women disciples deeply!
A SPECIAL SURPRISE VISIT
As the women disciples ran to tell their fellow-disciples, they had a wonderful surprise.
“And as they went to tell His disciples, behold,
Jesus met them, saying, ‘Rejoice!’
So they came and held Him by the feet and worshipped Him.
Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell
My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.'”
1. Did the women have trouble convincing their fellow-disciples?
They probably did. The Gospel of Luke recorded the initial response of the disciples as they listened to the testimony of the women folk.
“It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James,
and the other women with them, who told these things to
the apostles. And their words seemed to them like idle tales,
and they did not believe them.”
2. Help from the Risen Saviour
The women must have been truly grateful when they saw Jesus appear suddenly in their midst. “Rejoice!” – With just one word, all doubts and fears were dismissed! Jesus was alive! What the women disciples had testified fervently – they were all true! How could they have doubted in the first place! But they did!
Who was this Person but the Christ the Lord? All of the women disciples dropped to their knees and held His feet as humble supplicants would! They could not remain on their feet before the Risen Saviour! Humbly and gratefully, they held His feet in joyful worship!
3. “Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me”
The word from the angel of the Lord was further confirmed. It was Jesus’ express desire to see all His disciples in Galilee. All who had not seen Him yet must exercise their faith. They must swiftly proceed to Galilee. He will appear to them there! Would they make their way there? “My Brethren…” How tender were those precious words! Jesus still loved them as His brethren! “They will see Me…” They would see their beloved Teacher again? What hope! What joy must have filled their hearts that day!