November 17

Text: Matthew 28:9, 10

And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.  Then Jesus *said to them, "Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they shall see Me." (NASB)

Matthew gave a condensed, “bare bones” account of this first observance of the resurrected Jesus.  This account and others (see Luke 24:13-31; 41-43; or John 20:27) present Jesus’ body as resurrected, not as transfigured (as in Matthew 17:2).  The accounts also present what happened in his appearances as miracles—he suddenly appeared, and suddenly disappeared.  The wounds were intact, but he lived—it was not a healing, but a resurrection.  It was plain that the body that was crucified was the body that was resurrected.  A physical body that could not sustain physical life was alive through an act of God.

The greeting he gave was correct for then (Hail), but is not used now.  It was a joyful greeting.  (I once lived in a place where the proper greeting was, “How for your skin?”  Being in good health was an issue.)

The women recognized him, showed submission (not an unusual act), and held his feet—perhaps declaring he would not leave them again.  It is hard for us to imagine the flood of emotions all those who saw Jesus must have experienced.  They saw someone who most certainly was killed but also most certainly was alive.  What was the proper reaction, the proper emotions—fear or joy?

We forget that the average person in an average life never saw an angel, never saw a permanently resurrected person in a mangled body, never saw life in a body that could not sustain life, nor ever saw such a resurrected body eating food when it obviously did not need food.  Surely, Jesus performed miracles with his extraordinary power.  However, this was way beyond anything Jesus did.  Who did this?  What did it mean?  What was its purpose?  How should they react?  Witnesses could not ignore it!

Perhaps it is helpful to realize they faced the same issues we face.  It was no easier in a world ruled by many disinterested, inactive gods to accept resurrection than it is to accept resurrection in a world ruled by science.  As today, some believed, but most rejected (see Acts 17:32-34).

Suggestion for reflection: Why do you trust Jesus’ resurrection as a reality?  (Read 1 Corinthians 1:22-31.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell