Preaching to the Choir

These are some sermons, but mostly lectionary discussions. It also has prayers for some Sundays.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Easter Scripture: Matthew 28:1-10



Today we look at the part of the scripture that refers to the angel;
Matthew 28:1-4 After the Sabbath, as the first light of the new week dawned, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to keep vigil at the tomb. Suddenly the earth reeled and rocked under their feet as God's angel came down from heaven, came right up to where they were standing. He rolled back the stone and then sat on it. Shafts of lightning blazed from him. His garments shimmered snow-white. The guards at the tomb were scared to death. They were so frightened, they couldn't move.
5-6The angel spoke to the women: "There is nothing to fear here. I know you're looking for Jesus, the One they nailed to the cross. He is not here. He was raised, just as he said. Come and look at the place where he was placed.
7"Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, 'He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.' That's the message."

What are we to make of the angel in the Easter story? Were angels really real then? And was that just for then and they are not real now? What in the world was the appearance of the angel for? Was the angel necessary?

It is obvious the guards are scared to death with the earthquake, the stone being rolled away, and the appearance of the angel. The women are scared, but not frozen by their fear. The angel offers an invitation; "Come and See" after telling them "There is nothing to fear here." I like that, there is nothing to fear here. And then sends them on their way to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen. Wow.

Angels are seen all throughout the bible. Angels serve as messengers, but their name would also apply to a town crier or an agitator in the streets. They are not little babies resembling the Roman demigods of Bacchus (Cupids). Flying babies might amuse hardened Roman soldiers but they would hardly strike them with deadly fear. Nearly every time an angel appears, their first words have been; “Don’t be afraid.”

To the oppressor, the angel looked frightening; but to the women that loved Jesus, the angel came in peace with a message of great joy. Perhaps the question for us is then, how will the messenger come into my life? Have I been oppressor or oppressed? Will the angel cause me to tremble or to rejoice? How would we feel, or react if we saw the angel at the tomb? Would we be able to remember the angels announced the birth of Jesus as well?

Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? (Heb 1:14)

Angel at Jesus' tomb

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