1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. 2 Look, there was a great earthquake, for an angel from the Lord came down from heaven. Coming to the stone, he rolled it away and sat on it. 3 Now his face was like lightning and his clothes as white as snow. 4 The guards were so terrified of him that they shook with fear and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Don’t be afraid. I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He isn’t here, because he’s been raised from the dead, just as he said. Come, see the place where they laid him. 7 Now hurry, go and tell his disciples, ‘He’s been raised from the dead. He’s going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ I’ve given the message to you.”
8 With great fear and excitement, they hurried away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. 9 But Jesus met them and greeted them. They came and grabbed his feet and worshipped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go and tell my brothers that I am going into Galilee. They will see me there.”
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshipped him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came near and spoke to them, “I’ve received all authority in heaven and on earth. 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 teaching them to obey everything that I’ve commanded you. Look, I myself will be with you every day until the end of this present age.”
The tomb is empty! He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! It is Easter! We come together today to celebrate! In the midst of all our suffering and sorrow, God has given us joy. This joy is always accessible to us – it is the joy of knowing God loves us. As Easter people, we experience this indescribable joy knowing our risen Savior has paid the price for our sins and redeemed us to eternal life. The divine, saving love of God, poured out for us through his Son Jesus, is the fulfillment of our hope.
Mary Magdalene, along with the other women who followed Jesus, were the first to be witnesses and bring the good news of Jesus’ resurrection to the disciples in hiding. When the disciples met Jesus in Galilee they were given a new purpose. They are to “Go!” and share God’s love with others. They are to baptize and teach these new disciples so that they will grow and mature in their relationships with God and each other, and learn to love and share the good news everywhere.
Easter is not just the fulfillment of our hope in Jesus. It gives us purpose. That purpose is in this command “Go!” given to us in the Great Commission of verses 19 and 20. Jesus challenges each of us to grow in our own faith journey and, as we continue to deepen our relationships with God and others, we change. We are transformed until we look more and more like Jesus. Our witness shows through our actions and the ways we show the love of God to the people around us. When they experience divine love in us, they will want to become followers of Jesus too. The purpose of Jesus’ command is the fulfillment of God’s plan for the transformation of the world. Happy Easter!
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
Did you know the mission statement of the United Methodist Church is “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?” Here at Medford UMC our mission statement is, “Love God, serve people, transform lives.” This week, whether you are sheltering in place to protect others, or on the front lines of this pandemic, look for ways to serve and love others as a disciple of Jesus.
Prayer: May the joy of being a disciple of the Risen Christ always be with you, may you feel God’s unfailing love wrapped around you, and may the grace of the Holy Spirit bless you and be with you every day, and bring you peace. Amen!