Monday, June 2, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 28

If the death of Jesus on the Cross is the lowest point in human history, His resurrection here in chapter 28 of Matthew is the highest. In fact, I would say it goes beyond the scope of this. It's clearly the pinnacle of the entire universe. Before Jesus rose from the dead sin had power over all of humanity. We were lost in our sin, and our own feeble attempts at reconciliation through the law had fallen short. Though the Resurrection Jesus snatched the keys of death away and allowed us to have a mediator through which we can be granted power over death. We live and are promised victory through this resurrection.

 8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me." – Matthew 28:8-10

I cannot imagine the joy that Mary Magdalene and the other felt at seeing Christ risen from the dead. It is in this very moment that we draw hope for our own lives. We must take this in faith, as those that had an eyewitness account are long dead. What we see here is the final fulfillment of the promise that Jesus made as mediator for our sins. With this promise being fulfilled we are lost. There would be hope for us. One could say that Jesus, just as a man, could have possibly fulfilled the other prophesies. This final one, rising from the grave after the third day, could have only been accomplished by the true Son of God. Matthew even goes on to list the possibility of skepticism in the next verses by mentioning the lie that persists to this day of the body being stolen. This is where our choice lies. Do we believe he rose from the dead, or that the body was stolen?

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." – Matthew 28:16-20

I find it interesting that Matthew chooses to end hi telling of the gospel with a pair of stories from diverging perspectives. The first is the story that the body was stolen and, therefore, the Resurrection is a hoax. The second, which we see here, is known as the Great Commission. I have dog tag hanging from the rearview mirror of my car that has Matthew 28:19 on it as a reminder of the mission I am on. This passage is as true today as it was back then. It is basically Jesus' parting words to us to make sure we are always on mission to spread His word. In it, He promises to be with us in our mission spiritually. This commission means different things for every person. It all depends on how we are called to live this commission. The important thing is to live it, no matter how you are called to. Personally, I feel as if I am constantly on this mission, and it is one of great importance.

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