TO THE END OF TIME
Lord, to You all glory!
Read MATTHEW 28:1–20
Jesus Has Risen
28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
The Guards’ Report
11 While the women were on their way, some of the guards went into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened. 12 When the chief priests had met with the elders and devised a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money, 13 telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14 If this report gets to the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” 15 So the soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed. And this story has been widely circulated among the Jews to this very day.
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘“For my sake and the gospel’s, go / and tell redemption’s story’; / his heralds answer, ‘Be it so, / and thine, Lord, all the glory!’ / They preach his birth, his life, his cross, / the love of his atonement, / for whom they count the world but loss, / his Easter, his enthronement.” (Edward Henry Bickersteth, 1825–1906).
Hundreds of people saw the risen Jesus, but only Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” were actually present as the stone was rolled back (1). Only they heard the angel announce his rising. Jesus did not merely rise from the grave, a picture which can mislead; God raised him. That is the force of Matthew’s powerful narrative, the issue that made all other details irrelevant. Jesus really died so God alone could raise him. Matthew listed the witnesses, but he knew that resurrection faith was not a matter of evidence but of experiencing the reality of the risen Jesus. Faith is more than believing that the tomb was empty, that a dead body had resuscitated. The soldiers and the chief priests knew that (11). Knowledge and faith are not the same.
Overcome with doubt and wonder, the disciples assembled in Galilee where it had all begun (16). There Jesus came to them. What passed between them we cannot know, but surely Jesus stayed there for more than the ten seconds it takes to read Matthew’s summary of what he wanted us to know of Jesus’ words. Since the great Baptist missionary William Carey, in the 1790s, this great commission (18–20) has been the mandate for mission for the Protestant missionary movement, inspiring generations of missionaries to proclaim the risen Jesus around the world. Matthew, however, emphasized not our preaching but its purpose, creating disciples with faith in the risen Jesus who lives the way he taught. He will be with us, not just to the end of the world, but to the end of time: all our days.
What does it mean for us that Jesus will be with us all our days? How do we experience the reality of the risen Jesus?
Lord, help us to go, and to tell Your redemption story. May we proclaim, “Be it so! And thine, Lord, all the glory!”
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.