By Laura Merrill
Executive Director, Mission Vitality Center, Rio Texas Conference
San Antonio, Texas
First, read Matthew 28:1-10
Something big is happening this morning! We’ve read psalms of lament this Holy Week, begging for rescue and refuge in the midst of deep trouble. Yet where the week looked like it was going is not where it ended up—hallelujah! We can read this scripture as a sort of mini-play in two acts, and each act is a sign of the big thing.
First is the encounter of the women with the angel of the Lord. Words like “suddenly,” “great earthquake,” and “white as snow” say this is no ordinary meeting. Then there’s the nearly humorous twist of guards “shaking like dead men” in the middle of a graveyard! The angel delivers his straightforward yet incomprehensible message—Jesus, whom you saw crucified, is not here; he has been raised from the dead. Go and tell the others that he has gone ahead of you to Galilee; you’ll find him there.
The angel’s instructions to “go” form a bridge to the second act. Here we find a flurry of activity in response to this enormous news. The women run to tell the other disciples and run smack into Jesus. He repeats the instructions: Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, where they will see me. The empty tomb, site of this miraculous event, is not where the next act will take place. And Jesus calls the ones who love him, who care about what has happened here, to get up and move.
Each of us has a story to tell of our encounter with Jesus. We may not have told it lately; maybe we don’t remember all the details. But the fact is that Christ never stays at the site of the empty tomb, whatever that may look like for us. If he’s brought you from death into life, the next step is to get up and go. The next act of your life with him will happen in a new place, and if you’re going to share it, there will be new people to encounter.
Christ calls his Easter people to step into the resurrection; the next act is happening someplace else, and he’s already gone ahead! So whatever the trouble, however new or frightening the possibility Christ offers you, do not be afraid. He’s waiting to meet you and me and any who want to leave the graveyard—so go!
1. What signs around you or in your life might indicate that God is up to something big?
2. Is Christ’s good news of new life ever frightening for you or for your church? Why?
3. What might have kept the disciples from going to meet Jesus in Galilee? What do you think motivated them to go anyway?
4. Where do we need to go to meet up with Jesus? Where is he waiting for us?