Reflections of Our Savior
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid.” (Matthew 28:5,6,10)
Dear members and friends of Our Savior:
What did the women have to be afraid of? Why did the angel say what he did? Why did the risen Jesus also reassure them with those words, “Do not be afraid”?
It had been a trying time for them, the last few days. Much happened that was beyond their control. Jesus was put to death. The disciples seemed to be in hiding. Perhaps the authorities would go after them, too. What would they do now? Without Jesus, they would have much to fear.
Are we ever afraid? Are we afraid of what the future holds? How about those medical tests? How about those job prospects? How about continued threats of terrorism and war abroad? What will the world be like for our children? These are all daunting prospects, and you can add a few of your own. You know what you are afraid of, more that anyone else. Without Jesus we have much to fear.
But the women who went to Jesus’ tomb on that first Easter morning did not find him there, because he wasn’t. He rose, just like he said he would. They were not without Jesus after all! He is alive! They had nothing to fear.
We are not without Jesus either. He rose to grant us assurance too that death is not an enemy to be feared, but a vanquished foe to be faced with confidence--that because Jesus lives, we shall live eternally also. No matter what the uncertainties of this life, our life in heaven is certain.
The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. It is the focal point of everything we believe and the comfort we have as believers and the encouragement that we can give to others. It is our guarantee of eternal life in heaven.
The resurrection of Jesus is the reason we exist as a church. We have what every human being needs: certainty. Jesus’ resurrection gives our preaching and teaching and witness certainty. Our word of comfort and encouragement to others is made certain by the empty tomb: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.
When you receive this in your mailbox, we will still be following Jesus to his cross. The cross is the focus of the Lenten season. But remember, the goal is always the empty tomb---Jesus’ empty tomb.
Our life is like the Lenten season. Seeing Jesus carry his cross helps us to carry our own. But remember, our goal is the empty tomb, too---our own. Because he lives, we too shall live. Amen.