Christ's Resurrection calls us to believe
Robert Russell, pastor of Southeastern Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, told about sitting behind a 5-year-old boy at their church's Easter pageant a few years ago. The boy was enthralled.
Russell said, "When the crucifixion scene took place, he got real quiet. But then Jesus came back from the grave, and there was a song of celebration, and his eyes lit up. He looked at his mother and said, 'He's alive, Mom. He's alive!' and began to clap. And he hugged her around the neck."
Wouldn't it be great to see the resurrection with new eyes?
When Matthew wrote his account of the resurrection of Jesus he emphasized two groups who watched. His account of Easter morning is framed by two different kinds of watchers. Open your Bibles to Matthew 27. At the end of his account of the crucifixion, look what it says in verse 55: "Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs."
The next paragraph tells how Joseph of Arimathea had Jesus' body placed in his own rock-hewn tomb.
Look at verse 61: "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb."
Now fast-forward through Saturday to Sunday morning in Matthew 28:1: "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb." Those watching women provide one set of eyes on this story.
The other watchers are the guards. Verses 62-65 explain that they were posted to be sure the disciples didn't steal the body. Matthew 28:4 says when they felt the earthquake and saw the angel they "were so afraid of him that they shook and become like dead men." And verse 11 says, "Some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything ...
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Lee Eclov is pastor of Village Church of Lincolnshire in Lake Forest, Illinois and author of Pastoral Graces: Reflections on the Care of Souls (Moody Publishers). Eclov also leads a gathering of pastors for mutual support and learning called Pastors' Gatherings. To find out more about these Gatherings visit his site www.leeeclov.com.