Sunday, April 16: At dawn on the first day of the week
As we journey toward the cross of Good Friday and the empty tomb of Resurrection Sunday, we'll explore Jesus' journey together, paying special attention to those who encountered Jesus along that path. Our prayer and hope is that each of us will encounter Jesus in new ways during this important week.
Read Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
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. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 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."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."
Because this story is so familiar to many of us, we can easily miss the most critical details. For instance, look at how it starts: "After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week." Matthew wants to point out that Jesus' resurrection took place not on the holy day of the Sabbath, but on a Sunday, an ordinary day on the Jewish calendar. What if this has significance? What if it means something important to those of us who read and believe this story today?
Some writers believe the timing of the resurrection is a picture of God breaking down distinctions between holy and ordinary days, between sacred and secular, between holy and human. Are you holding onto any of those distinctions in your life? Do you expect to encounter the risen Jesus only on holidays, or in "sacred" places? Or are you prepared to experience him on every one of your most ordinary days, in even the most ordinary places?