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April 12, 2020

Mathew 28:1-11

Pastor Jenny Lee, Ph.D.
Upper St. Croix Parish UMC

“There They Will See Me”

“Hallelujah! Christ is risen! He has risen!”

We had many plans for Easter Sunday service, such as adjusting service time with three
churches, ordering Easter flowers, and sunrise service and breakfast by UMM. However, we could
not do anything as we planned. Also, we cancelled service at church due to corona virus 19. Instead,
we have a home service. A passage of the scripture comes to my mind, “The human mind plans the
way, but the Lord directs the steps” (Proverbs 16:9). There is the truth, which is never changed. It is
that our Lord Jesus Christ is risen whether we have service at home or church.

Early on that morning following the Sabbath, the most stupendous news began to permeate
the world. Jesus is risen! All of the Gospel books agree on the time and on the amazement with which
the followers of Jesus are confronted with the evidence of the Resurrection. “After the Sabbath,”
when it was permissible to be involved in work, very early in the morning as dawn was breaking, the
women came to the tomb. They were especially anxious to perform the proper burial rites which they
had not been able to do for the body of Jesus on the Sabbath evening of the crucifixion (Mark 16:1;
Luke 24:1). Having witnessed the burial of Jesus, they were talking about the problem of removing
the stone to gain access to the tomb (Mark16:3).

However, in verse 2, there was a violent a great earthquake, and an angel from heaven rolled
back the stone. The earthquake struck terror into the guards who shook with fear and “became like
dead men” (V.4). It describes the angel as removing the stone and sitting on it, giving evidence of the

divine activity in the event unfolding before the witnesses. Evidently, the women ran to tell the
disciples that the tomb was empty, prompting Peter and John to run immediately to the tomb (John
20:3-10). The women probably returned to see the tomb and were slowly leaving, while Mary
Magdalene lingered behind. She became the first one to see the risen Lord in the series of
appearances that followed (John 20:11). The other women were second as they met Jesus while
leaving the garden.

The women observed the burial of Christ and removing the body from the cross so that they
would visit the tomb. They became witnesses for the first appearances of the risen Lord. The angel
told the women not to be afraid and then shared the great news, “He is not here. For he is risen as he
said.” The angel commissioned them to go and tell the other disciples that the risen Jesus was going
before them to Galilee. It was a note of authenticity, indeed of historicity, in the identification of the
risen Lord as the Jesus with whom they had associated.

In the story of Resurrection of Jesus Christ, we find essential messages; 1) The day of the
Lord, 2) The first witnesses for the risen Jesus Christ, and 3) The grace of God for the new beginning.
First, let us think about the day of the Lord. Do you know when we say “the day of the
Lord?” Yes, we call Sunday as the day of the Lord and have service on Sunday. Jewish has service
on Friday evening, which is at the beginning of the Sabbath day. However, after Jesus’s Resurrection,
early Christian has gathered to celebrate his Resurrection on Sunday, when it is “after the Sabbath.”
Rome colonized the Midwestern area at that time, and they celebrated Sunday as the day of the
Emperor of Rome. However, once the Emperor Constantine’s (Constantius) conversion to
Christianity (A.D. 313), he proclaimed Christianity as a national religion, and then Christian could
celebrate with a service on Sunday as the day of Resurrection of the Lord. Therefore, Christian’s
Sunday service must celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord. So, we called Sunday is the day (of the
Resurrection) of the Lord.

Secondly, let us think of “the first witnesses for the risen Jesus Christ. Angel, who rolled the
stone of the tomb back, told women who came to see the body of Jesus in the tomb “Do not be afraid;
I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he
said.” The angel reminded them of Jesus’ teachings, and said, “Go quickly and tell his disciples, he
has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee.” Jesus told his
disciples several times, ‘he will die and resurrect again within three days,’ but no one believed in him
for Resurrection. Instead, the chief priests who made Jesus die kept his Resurrection in their minds
with fear because, to hide the fact of Jesus’ Resurrection, they devised a plan giving money soldiers
to tell people that the disciples of Jesus stole his body (Matt.28:12-13).

On the other hand, the women who followed Jesus from Galilee observed his death on the
cross and burial of his body. They first came to his tomb to have a burial rite on an early morning as
soon as it begins the permitted time to go out. Experiencing an earthquake, an angel, and an empty
tomb, they are perhaps lots of anxious and too much excited to go to disciples and to tell them the
good news about the risen Christ. However, the Lord showed them and said, “Greetings!” Finally, the
women could worship the risen Jesus first at his feet. Jesus commanded them, “do not afraid, go and
tell my brother (disciples) to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” Jesus, who knew the women’s
fear, showed them and told them by himself, “there they will see me.” The women became the first
witnesses to tell the good news of the risen Jesus, and the first worshipers to the risen Jesus Christ.
Jesus called his disciples again through the first witnesses as a community, saying, “They will see
me;” “tell my brothers.”

Finally, let us think of the grace of God in the Resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus did not resurrect,
then Christianity is done by the death of Jesus. We may remember Jesus as one of Jewish teachers or
prophets, or we never remember him at all. Besides, we might not have any record about Jesus Christ.
Because the disciples of Jesus scattered and returned back their home town in daily life after Jesus’

death. They did not look forward to seeing for his Resurrection (Luke 24:11; John 20:10). They were
in disappointment, and fear for persecution as his disciples. They failed in his discipleship. They used
to say, “We will follow you up to die (John 11:16; Matt. 26:35),” but they ran away as soon as Jesus
died on the cross. However, Christianity began with Jesus’ Resurrection. Jesus called his disciples to
Galilee again, where they met first to give them a second chance.
Jesus called his disciples into a community as a new beginning of discipleship, called them
“my brothers.” Jesus told the women, “Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee.” The disciples of
Jesus failed in their discipleship, misunderstanding his teaching, suspending his Resurrection,
denying his disciple with fear, and escaping from the cross of Jesus and disappointment about Jesus’
death. However, Jesus called them again to give them a second chance. While the first calling of
Jesus to his disciples was individual calling one by one, the latter calling was for a community of his
disciples. Jesus guided the disciples who lost their teachers and Lord, and who were full of fear, to
gather together and to pray at all until the Holy Spirit comes to help them (Acts 1 & 2). And, Jesus
gave them the Great Commission in Galilee, “therefore, go and make disciples of all nations” (Matt.
28:19). Besides, he knew disciples’ weakness and fear, and says, “But you will receive power when
the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The Resurrection of Jesus gives us hope and power to be his witnesses as well as forgiveness
and restoration toward a new beginning. The witnesses of his Resurrection have delivered the good
news over the world. Eventually, the news came to us on the morning of Easter. Now, it is our turn
to spread out the good news that Jesus is risen, and his is with us always. I encourage you to
remember again when Jesus called you first. “There we will see Jesus again,” where we met him
first, and where Jesus is waiting for us to give us a second chance and a new beginning. Let us go
there together to see the risen Christ! Thanks be to God, Amen!