Red Letter Year: 6/13

Matthew 28:11-20

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.

Red Letter Year: 6/12

Matthew 28:1-10

Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to him, grasped his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”


“Don’t be afraid,” the angel tells the women. We tend to think that unbelief is the opposite of faith, but often fear is the opposite of faith. Fear is believing more in your situation, more in the power of the enemy, than in the power of God to deliver you and defeat the enemy. The cure for fear and the establisher of faith is resurrection. Jesus does what he said he would do and returns from the dead. He appears personally to the women (and later the men) because faith in Jesus is not blind faith. This is a God only too happy to demonstrate his reality, hie life, his power, his victory over death. Don’t be afraid today. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can transform your life as well.

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.