By

Easter Vigil Sermon from Matthew’s Gospel.

Matthew 28:1-10

After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was

dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went

to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great

earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending

from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and

sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his

clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards

shook and became like dead men. But the angel

said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that

you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is

not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come,

see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell

his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead,

and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee;

there you will see him.’ This is my message for

you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and

great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly

Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they

came to him, took hold of 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.”

All four of the gospel writers, Matthew,

Mark, Luke and John, tell Jesus’

resurrection story just a little differently.

Each one tells the story in their own way.

It’s like if you and I experience something

and then share our story of the experience,

more than likely, your story will vary

from mine.

In Matthew’s story, an angel appears at

Jesus’ empty tomb, and four people react.

Two react in paralyzing fear. They were

the soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb. You’d

think they would be strong; but the story

isn’t complimentary to them. They

became so afraid that they fell over as if

dead.

Yet, the two women responded to the

appearance of the angel with hope. Mary

Magdalene and Mary, the Mother of Jesus

were hopeful because they knew Jesus,

they trusted him, they believed in him,

they witnessed his love and forgiveness,

his healing miracles and his embrace of

all who would come to him.

Their hope in Jesus made them strong.

Their hope couldn’t be paralyzed by fear.

Their willingness to hear the angel and

receive the unexpected, outlandish

message that “He is not here, for he has

been raised,” triumphed over their fear,

giving them joy in their hearts. And, it

was in joy they encountered the risen

Jesus.

This evening we will be renewing our

own baptismal covenant. It’s important

for us to remember that we are followers

of Jesus Christ. We are people called to

be today’s witnesses of Jesus’ miraculous

resurrection and his ongoing presence

among us.

Like the two women long ago, you and I

are people of hope, empowered because

we know Jesus; we trust him; we believe

in him; we witness his love, forgiveness

and healing, and his embrace of all who

would come to him.

We know that Jesus lives and that God’s

love flows through him into us and

through us to help change the world for

God. We don’t have to be paralyzed by

fear. We can stand with Blessed Mary

and Mary Magdalene, staring into the face

of the unknown while trusting in crucified

yet undying love.

The story of Jesus’ resurrection is

powerful. It does us well to remember it.

It does the world well for us to live it and

tell it.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen! The Lord is

Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

 
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