The risen Jesus (2)
During the last Wednesday worship service, we shared grace under the title of “The risen Jesus (1)” centered on the words of John 20:1-10. It seems that no one believed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mary Magdalene did not believe that Jesus was resurrected and came to the tomb of Jesus. Apostle Peter and Apostle John did not come to the empty tomb of Jesus because they believed in the resurrection of Jesus. They did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus because they remembered the words in the Scripture that He (Jesus) must rise again from the dead (v. 9). But they believed when they saw the towel and the linen cloth wrapped around Jesus' head in the empty tomb (vv. 6-7). No one believed in the resurrection of Jesus based on the words of the Scripture (v. 9)
Today, I would like to share grace under the title of “The risen Jesus (2)” centered on the words of Matthew 28:1-15.
Matthew 28:1 says, “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.” After “the Sabbath” (Saturday) has passed, “the first day of the week” (Sunday) at “dawn” (because it is before sunrise in our time, it must be around 5:00 a.m.) “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary”, that is, Mary, the mother of James, did not believe in the resurrection of Jesus, so they went to the tomb of Jesus to anoint His body with myrrh. Look at Matthew 28:2-3: “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.” Here, “a severe earthquake” and its image shone like lightning, and “an angel of the Lord,” whose clothes were white as snow, came down from heaven, rolled away the stone that covered Jesus’ tomb, and sat on it, which Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James did not witnessed directly. After that, the two women arrived at Jesus' tomb. Look at Matthew 28:4-5: “The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.’” Here, “The guards” (27:65-66) trembled for fear of the angels and become like dead men (28:4). The interesting thing is that the ground shook greatly because of the severe earthquake (v. 2), and the guards at Jesus’ tomb were afraid of the angels, so their hearts were shaken and trembled as if the earth was shaken by a great earthquake. According to commentator Pastor Hendrickson, the shaking of the earth and the shaking of people come from the same root. If we look at Daniel 5:5-6, something like that happened. When King Belshazzar saw human fingers appearing and writing on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace, his face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way. The apostle John had such an experience. Look at Revelation 1:17 – “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man And He placed His right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last.’” The Lord laid his right hand on Apostle John, who fell at Jesus’ feet, as though he were dead, and He said, ‘Do not be afraid....” In this way, the crowd who tried to block Jesus' resurrection saw what the angel was doing and all became like dead men (Mt. 28:4). Just at this time, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James arrived at the tomb of Jesus (v. 1). And the angel said to the two women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified” (v. 5).
Matthew 28:6-7 says, “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. ‘Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.’” As the angel said, Jesus did not stay in the tomb, but rose again (v. 6). The angel said to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, “Come, see the place where He (Jesus) was lying.” And as the angel said, when they looked at the place where Jesus was lying, the body of Jesus was not there. So, when the two women heard the angel speak, they quickly left the tomb in fear and great joy and ran to tell Jesus' disciples (v. 8). Look at Matthew 28:9-10: “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.’” The resurrected Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, who were running to Jesus' disciples to tell them about the resurrection of Jesus, and showed them the resurrected body and said, “Do not be afraid ...” (v. 10). The interesting thing is that the angel told the two women, “Do not be afraid” (v. 5), and Jesus also said to the two women, “Do not be afraid” (v. 10). Look at Matthew 28:11-15: “Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. And when they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, ‘You are to say, His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep. And if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble.’ And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.” As Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James were running to Jesus' disciples to announce the resurrection of Jesus, some of the guards (not all had run away and scattered) entered the city and reported to the chief priests “all that had happened” (v. 11). Here, “all that had happened” refers to the resurrection of Jesus, the fact that they could no longer guard the tomb of Jesus, and the appearance of an angel. So, the chief priests gathered together with the elders and gave a lot of money to the guardsmen (v. 12) and instructed them to spread a rumor that while there were sleeping Jesus’ disciples came by night and stole Him so that Pilate, the Roman governor could hear it (v. 13). At that time, the chief priests knew that the guards were worried that they would be punished for not guarding Jesus' tomb if Pilate, Roman governor, heard that Jesus' body was missing. So they instructed the guards like this so that they could keep the guards out of trouble (v. 14). As a result, the Roman guards said that the disciples of Jesus came at night and stole the body of Jesus as they taught, and this word has spread among Jews to this day (v. 15). Among the theologians who deny the resurrection of Jesus, there are those who say that Jesus' body was stolen by His disciples.
Do we really believe that Jesus was resurrected? We must believe in the resurrection of Jesus and live with faith that we too will be resurrected. In today's text, Matthew 27:7, Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James, went quickly to Jesus' disciples, and the Korean Bible says that Jesus rose "among the dead” and the Chinese Bible says that Jesus rose “from the dead.” Here, the resurrection of Jesus “among the dead” and the resurrection of Jesus “from the dead” look similar, but in reality there is a difference. On the other hand, the translation that says Jesus rose “from the dead” testifies only to Jesus’ resurrection, whereas the translation that says Jesus rose “among the dead” speaks not only of Jesus’ resurrection, but also of those who died in Jesus. Look at 1 Corinthians 15:20 – “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.” This word says that those who sleep in Christ (the dead) will also be resurrected. Through Jesus Christ, who became the firstfruits of those who fell asleep, those who died in Lord also will be resurrected according to Jesus Christ, who became the firstfruits. Look 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” When God returns with Jesus Christ in glory, the dead in Christ will be resurrected and be with the Lord forever. Therefore, we must be sure that we will be resurrected because Jesus was resurrected, and we must not forget that we who have the hope of resurrection will always be with the Lord. So, if the good, pleasing and perfect will of the Lord is for the beloved brother to be called to sleep in the Lord, we should not be afraid of his death, but send him away with the faith of the resurrection, as the Lord said, and we should eagerly look forward to be reunited in heaven with the hope of the resurrection and live there together forever.