Today’s passage: Matthew 28
So, on the Sunday following Jesus’ crucifixion, two Marys pay a visit to Jesus’ tomb–but they find the guards gone, the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance, and an angel waiting there. Recall that the Greek word we translate as ‘gospel’ is ‘εὐαγγέλιον;’ it’s got the word ‘angel,’ meaning ‘messenger,’ right there in the middle of it. And what’s the angel’s message? “[Jesus] is not here, for He has risen, just as He said” (v.6).
Has Jesus told these women that he was going to rise from the dead? As far as I can recall, that privileged information was for his disciples’ ears only (and even they didn’t really understand it until after the fact). I imagine the two Marys looking at each other and the angel like, “Yeah, we didn’t get the memo.” This good news is completely unforeseen for them–they were expecting to find a grave and a corpse.
Verse 17 stood out to me: “When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful.” Does that strike you as weird? What exactly are their doubts? If a person claims to be the Son of God, then dies and rises again just like he said he would, why would you withhold your reverence for him? Matthew doesn’t say what their doubts are. He concludes, instead, with Jesus’ words commissioning his disciples to continue his work and reassuring them of his continued presence:
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (vv.18-20)
Here we’ve reached the end of part one of our four-part journey into the gospels. Having come this far, I think we can conclude that the gospel, according to Matthew, is this: “In accordance with God’s promises through prophecy, the Messiah has come to restore what is broken in God’s creation, ransoming it by dying and rising from the dead.” How would you articulate Matthew’s conception of the gospel? Perhaps you have noticed something that I have failed to incorporate into my summation.
Today’s chocolate is the Pascha dark. When you get down to the last two rows or so, you pretty much have to give up on getting a clean break.