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.”
Don’t Be Afraid
It’s hard to imagine everything those women felt on that first Easter morning. Heading to the tomb, perhaps they felt lonely and lost without their leader, Jesus. Disappointed and depressed by what happened three days earlier. But after seeing the angel and the empty tomb, perhaps amazement and confusion replaced those other emotions. One emotion we know they felt, though, was fear.
Frightened by the angel. Overwhelmed by the empty tomb. Startled by Jesus’ sudden appearance. Jesus spoke to the women’s fear immediately after greeting them, “Do not be afraid.”
Jesus didn’t just mean not to be afraid at the sight of him now, but also not to be afraid of what he would do now that he was alive again. Jesus gave the women a mission to be messengers to the disciples. Remarkably, He called the disciples his brothers. He didn’t call them cowardly traitors who had deserted him but brothers. You see, Jesus’ disciples had turned their backs on Jesus during his arrest and crucifixion.
And, just as remarkably, Jesus calls us his brothers and sisters even though we have often turned our backs on him when we have lived the way we want rather than the way he wants. But, you see, the whole reason Jesus went to the cross was for those sins. Because of God’s great grace, Jesus didn’t rise to deliver retribution or revenge. He rose as an assurance of sins forgiven and death defeated.
The living Son of God has made full payment for sin so that he can call us his brothers and sisters. We are rescued from the punishment we deserve. Death is defeated. We do not need to be afraid!
Prayer: (Christian Worship: Hymnal: – 440)
Christ Jesus, God’s own Son, came down, his people to deliver; destroying sin, he took the crown from death’s pale brow forever. Stripped of pow’r, no more it reigns; an empty form alone remains; its sting is lost forever. Alleluia, alleluia! Amen.