11 As the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and told the leading priests what had happened. 12 A meeting with the elders was called, and they decided to give the soldiers a large bribe. 13 They told the soldiers, “You must say, ‘Jesus’ disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.’ 14 If the governor hears about it, we’ll stand up for you so you won’t get in trouble.” 15 So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.
16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him — but some of them doubted!
18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Jesus is raised from the dead. This does not stop the schemers from scheming or the doubters from doubting, but even the doubters worship and schemes are weak. Schemers and doubters still exist and that can tempt us to fall into apology for Jesus’ resurrection, as though we owe this modern age a fully rational explanation. “Little will be gained in trying to convince anyone that the resurrection might have happened. To do so threatens to isolate the resurrection from the life and crucifixion of Jesus in a manner that distorts the witness that Matthew has trained us to be. The problem, after all, is not belief in the resurrection, but whether we live lives that would make no sense if in fact Jesus has not been raised from the dead.” (Stanley Hauerwas, Matthew, p. 248) The lives of witness we have been trained to live are described in the Sermon on the Mount. Such lives only make sense and are only possible as lives lived in the kingdom that begins breaking in with Jesus’ incarnation. His kingdom widens with each healing, deliverance, and miracle. All of these are expressions of his resurrection power, on display even prior to Jesus’ resurrection, which widens the kingdom further still and invites all in to participate in the life and widening of the kingdom. It is Jesus’ resurrection power at work when we heal the sick, cast out demons, forgive sins, make disciples, and yes, even raise the dead. All of these still go on today as his kingdom is ever widening, ever advancing, ever taking advantage of our victory that is already won and secured. The kingdom has come in power, resurrection power. It is by that power that we live. And it is by that power that we reap the harvest God is giving us.
The New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.