Scripture: Matthew 28:1-16
Key verse: (4) “For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.”
Reflection: Jesus in his living, dying, and rising is always turning the world upside down. Throughout his life Jesus called people into question as to what is important in life, what we hold as valuable, how we see each other. And now in his death and resurrection, Jesus continues this ground shaking world turning work. I love in verse 4 where it says that the guards became like dead men. These men of power, with instruments of death, a license to kill, these men who by many accounts had power over who lived and died, became like dead men when the fear of God entered their lives. Jesus is turning the world upside down. And at the same time, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who had all rights to be afraid, lost, without purpose were filled with fear as well, as we see in verse 8. However, their fear of God did not turn them into “dead people” but it invigorated them with a new life, they ran to spread this good news and were filled with great joy!
When confronted with this world shattering news of Jesus’ resurrection, we are filled with fear. Fear can take many forms, fear of loss, fear of danger, fear in awe and wonder, fear in not understanding. While the angel tells the women not to fear, we see that they continue on in fear. But that fear doesn’t freeze them, it releases them in joy. Jesus’ earth shattering resurrection continues to turn the world upside down. The fear of the guards has told them their time of control over life and death is over. The joyful fear of the women has reassured them that death has no control over their lives any more.
Consider in your lives what Jesus’ resurrection means for you. How do you stand in awe and wonder of the new life that Jesus promises? Do you stand in fear of losing power that you once thought you wielded? Do you stand in joy, hopeful that death and its grips have no power over you? Wherever you stand this day, it is on the earth shattering ground of the resurrection world, where Jesus comes and turns the systems upside down. Thanks be to God.
Prayer: Holy God, we give you thanks for Jesus’ resurrection. We praise you for the promise of new life. Open our lives to your earth shattering good news, and guide us by your Spirit to respond in joy. Amen.
Author: John Magnuson
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].