Gospel: Matthew 28:1-10
Epistle: Colossians 3:1-4
Lesson: Acts 10:34-43 or Jeremiah 31:1-6
Psalm: Psalm 16
CLB Pastors Network – Dale Hanson
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! Amen!
Resurrection morning, what a wonderful day of celebration – all things are new, hope is restore, sins are forgiven, death and hell are defeated! The gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection needs to be proclaimed with joy and confidence. Consider anew what a grand message we have to bring to our people. Proclaim it as the good news that it is!
The two women mentioned in this account had one amazing morning; they had come to tend to the body of Jesus and discovered that he was alive. Even though he had told them before that he would rise again it was shocking news to them as a resurrection would be! How can we believe it?!
Not only did the women see the empty tomb and the angel from God, they actual saw the risen Jesus as well. When they saw him they worshipped him; what a moment that must have been! Jesus told them to go and tell the other disciples to go to Galilee and he would meet them there.
The earthquake that accompanied the angel’s descent recalls the prophecy of Haggai 2:6-9 – This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,” says the Lord Almighty. “The silver is mine and the gold is mine,” declares the Lord Almighty. “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord Almighty. “And in this place I will grant peace,” declares the Lord Almighty. Interesting that an earthquake marked both the death and the resurrection of Jesus. These quakes were obviously more than coincidences of nature; both quakes signaled that great and mighty acts of God were taking place.
Matthew does not record a single word that the women said in response to this good news–they were speechless in the face of these amazing events.
It is noteworthy that Jesus called his disciples “my brothers”. Tender, loving words to those who likely were feeling guilty about the way they had all forsaken him and fled. But Jesus wanted them to know that he had forgiven them and that he was anxious to see them and they did not have to be afraid of what he would think of them when they saw each other again.
Quotes from Martin Luther on the Resurrection:
He who would preach the Gospel must go directly to preaching the resurrection of Christ. For were there no resurrection, we would have neither comfort nor hope, and everything else Christ sufferings and death would be in vain. Therefore it is necessary to diligently stress and confirm this article of the faith.
This article of the faith–the resurrection–has suffered and still suffers the most opposition and is most difficult to believe. The reason for this is that no article so contradicts experience as this one does. For our eyes see that all the world is swept away by death. One after another, are laid in the grave and buried. If you want to look at this with reason, the article of the resurrection of the dead seems to be either nothing at all or at least entirely uncertain. If we consult reason and judge according to external appearance and experience, faith fails, and we will let this article go. Therefore, it is necessary for every Christian to have before them the testimony of Holy Scripture concerning the resurrection of the dead and then also the resurrection of the Lord Christ, proved and attested by certain revelation; that we must rest firmly on these and abandon outward appearances and the experience of reason.
When it comes to the resurrection . . . in short, if you will not let the Word mean more to you than all your feelings, eyes, senses, and heart, you must be lost, and there is no further help for you. For we are concerned with an article of faith, not an article of your reason or wisdom or human power and ability.
Therefore you must judge solely according to the Word in this matter, irrespective of what you feel and see. I, too, feel my sin and the Law and the devil on my neck. I feel that I lie under these as under a heavy burden. But what should I do? Should I argue according to such feelings and my own ability? In that case I and all people would have to despair and perish. If, however, I want to be helped, I must assuredly turn about, look to the Word, and say: I do indeed feel God’s wrath, the devil, death, and hell; but the Word speaks differently to me. It tells me that I have a gracious God through Christ, who is my Lord over the devil and all creatures. I feel and see plainly enough that I and all people will sink into the grave and there decay. But the Word of God speaks differently to me. It tells me that I shall rise in great glory and live forever.
After a believer’s body had decayed in the earth, it will rise in much greater beauty and glory. It will be the body of a human being, just as it was created; but the body will have a different appearance and use. Yet, in like manner, God will give to each his or her own body at the resurrection. What was created a human being will remain a human being, whether man or woman. How different such a prospect makes both death and the grave appear. Death is nothing but the taking off, and the flinging away, of an old, torn coat, and the resurrection is the putting on of a beautiful, new coat wrought and woven for us by the victory of Jesus.
On that great eternal morning we hope to have a body which is better and nobler than the human body was before the Fall in the Garden. Christ who has restored innocence to us through the remission of sin makes our condition better than the condition of Adam before the Fall. Praises be to God alone!
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
The Lutheran Study Bible
The People’s Bible – Matthew
What Luther Says
The Sermons of Martin Luther
“The great longing and love of the women for the Lord must also be particularly noted here, so that unadvised and alone they go early to the grave, not thinking of the great stone which was rolled before the tomb. They might have thought of this and taken a man with them. But they act like timid and sorrowing persons, and therefore they go on their way without even thinking of the most necessary things. They do not even think of the watchers who were clad in armor, nor of the wrath of Pilate and the Jews, but boldly they freely risk it and alone they venture on their way. What urged these good women to hazard life and body? It was nothing but the great love they bore to the Lord, which had sunk so deeply into their hearts that for his sake they would have risked a thousand lives. Such courage they had not of themselves, but here the power of the resurrection of Christ was revealed, whose Spirit makes these women, who by nature are timid, so bold and courageous that they venture to do things which might have daunted a man….
St. Paul writes in Romans 4:25 as follows: “Christ was delivered up for our trespasses, and was raised for our justification.” Paul is indeed the man who extols Christ in a masterly manner, telling us exactly why and for what purpose he suffered and how we should conform ourselves to his sufferings, namely, that he died for our sins. This is a correct interpretation of the sufferings of Christ, by which we may profit. And as it is not sufficient to know and believe that Christ has died, so it will not suffice to know and believe that he rose with a transfigured body and is now in a state of joy and blessedness, no longer subject to mortality, for all this would profit me nothing or very little. But when I come to understand the fact that all the works God does in Christ are done for me, nay, they are bestowed upon and given to me, the effect of his resurrection being that I also will arise and live with him; that will cause me to rejoice.”
Luther, M., The Sermons of Martin Luther. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1906.
Spurgeon’s Popular Exposition of Matthew
“When the angel had rolled back the stone from the door, he sat upon it, as if to defy earth and hell ever to roll it back again. That great stone seems to represent the sin of all Christ’s people, which shut them up in prison; it can never be laid again over the mouth of the sepulchre of any child of God. Christ has risen, and all his saints must rise, too…
… It took a great deal to alarm Roman soldiers; they were inured to all manner of terrors, but this angel’s flashing countenance and snow-white raiment paralyzed them with fright, until they swooned away, and became as dead men. He does not appear to have drawn a flaming sword, nor even to have spoken to the keepers; but the presence of perfect purity overawed these rough legionaries.”
Spurgeon, C.H., Spurgeon’s Popular Exposition of Matthew. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing, 1962.
Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel
“These women prostrate themselves before Jesus in worship. They recognized him in his divine greatness. We read that various persons came and prostrated themselves in worship before Jesus… Jesus’ disciples never prostrated themselves before their master in this manner. Now that he is risen from the dead, now that he appears to them in a miraculous manner, these women truly ‘worship’ him and by their prostration was intended to give him divine honor. This was the proper way for these women to meet Jesus; and he, too, accepts their worship as rightly being his due.”
Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943.