Sunday, April 21, 2019

Daily Devotion to finish Lent 2019 - Easter Sunday

Scripture Reading: Matthew 28:1-20 (NRSV)

Matthew in more closely dealing with the Jewish community includes the details about the guards.  It is interesting that they "became like dead men" showing that fear saps us of life.  I like the irony that they became "dead" while guarding that which was dead but now is alive in Jesus Christ.  The juxtaposition of the empire's forces and God's reality is subtle but apparent.

I wonder if going back to the mountain
reminded the disciples of the Transfiguration?
The women were the first to be greeted by the risen Lord and they worship him.  In Matthew's Gospel, the disciples worshiped Jesus in the boat after he walked on water and stilled the storm.  We see the disciples worshiping Jesus once again at the end of this chapter.  It is interesting to note that Matthew relates that "some doubted" in verse 17.  This does reflect back to the incident on the boat when he told them, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" in 14:31.  I think this shows how real death is for people.  Even when shown evidence with our own eyes, when our belief in a world-view is so ingrained, it makes it difficult to accept.

Jesus gives us the Great Commission in verses 19-20 which reminds us of God telling us in Genesis 1:28 to "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it".  So as Matthew did not know about the book of Revelation as it hadn't been written yet, we have a new capstone for the biblical narrative.

We once again have our marching orders but they include "all nations" which is how we see the Gospel unfold.  Jesus was told that his name was Emmanuel which means "God is with us" in 1:23.  Now we see that he is going to remain with us to the end of the age.

As a Christian, what does this mean to celebrate resurrection as a constant companion?

How do you see yourself being both part of the fulfillment of the Great Commission and also responsible to fulfill it?

Where do your own gifts and graces move you to teach the message of Jesus to someone who may not share the faith?  And just in case this makes some (undoubtedly) blanch, teaching often happens most efficiently by our example.

Thanks for sharing in Matthew's Gospel.  I found it enriching to see Matthew as a master narrator weaving together the stories of Jesus in a work that moves us forward in a remarkable way.  It has been life-giving to me and I hope to you as well.

In Christ,

Sam Powers

Prayer for the day:

God, you are the author and the giver of life.
You never leave us, even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
You suffer with us in our times of trial.
You constantly surprise us with blessing.
You renew us with resurrection.
May we cast aside our doubts and worship you this day!

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