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Matthew 28:1-10, Easter Sunday/Resurrection

Narrative Lectionary Key Verse for Today

He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
— Matthew 28:6

NL Daily Devotion for Sunday, April 21, 2019

by Dr. Kimberly Leetch, Clergy Stuff

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Main Idea: The women claimed their mission from a risen Christ with fear and great joy.

The sabbath was over. Mary and Mary were free to go mourn their loss at the tomb where Jesus was laid. But they were shocked to discover not only an open and empty tomb, but an angel of the Lord in lightening-white clothing sitting on top of the rolled-away stone. The angel gave them a message for the disciples, that Jesus would meet them in Galilee.

In fear and great joy, the women ran, until Jesus himself stopped them. They fell down and worshiped Jesus, who reiterated the message for the disciples, that he would meet them in Galilee.

When we are faced with a God-given mission, it is usually with fear and great joy that we run to engage in it. How often has a stirring inside you led to a major change in your life? A new job. A new relationship. A major move. None of these comes without fear and great joy.

Great joy serves a purpose. Without the hope of joy, major change is nearly impossible. Why make a change if there is no benefit? Joy is the most visceral benefit we can hope for. Joy is why we do it.

Fear also serves a purpose. It heightens our awareness, so we are sharp as we navigate difficult decisions and obstacles that are inevitable with great change. It also keeps us alert to pitfalls and mistakes we might wish to avoid.

Everything worth doing begins with fear and great joy. The women were blessed with the first vision of a risen Christ that would change everything for everyone forever. For a brief moment, they held within them the fear and joy that would explode out into the world and last forever. For a moment, they claimed what all of humanity one day would—the hopes, fears, dreams, and joy of a risen Messiah and all that he would bring to an utterly changed world.

God of resurrection, you fill my grieving, doubting heart with the light of your new life. Send me forth in joy to proclaim your good news to all whom I encounter, for the sake of Jesus our risen savior. Amen.