Message:  In Matthew 28 we land on what we know as Resurrection Sunday. We established in yesterday’s reading that Jesus’s death had not been business as usual. There was fear among the soldiers for what they had witnessed, and they had even spoken out loud “surely this man was God’s son”. These were not followers of Jesus and they weren’t weak, scared men. They were hard core soldiers who enforced harsh torturous discipline and death sentences. They were comfortable with death, cruelty and gore but they obviously knew something was very different about this. There was fear among leaders and government that what Jesus predicted just might be true so they tried in advance to concoct a story promoting the idea that his followers might try to come in the night to steal his body to make it appear that he had resurrected just like he had said. Even with guards in place they couldn’t prevent his resurrection from happening and the next morning there were even more terrified men. The tomb guards who witnessed the angel and the resurrection were lying on the ground petrified by what they had witnessed. When they sought out the priests to explain what happened the priests paid them a large sum of money to corroborate their made-up story that somehow his followers came and took his body. I had always heard that the women came to the tomb to anoint the body, but as a woman myself I can’t help but wonder if they really came just to see if what he said was actually true. They loved Jesus and they had to have had some hope, if not just plain desperation that drove them to go first thing in the morning to see. They were the first to see Jesus resurrected and I don’t believe that’s any kind of coincidence. Jesus sent the women to inform his disciples and verse 16 tells us that the 11 disciples traveled to Galilee to the mountain where Jesus had directed them to go. Verse 17 tells us that when they saw him they worshipped but “some doubted”. As I pondered this I found it ironic that the soldiers and guards who had witnessed these events couldn’t deny what they had seen (even though the guards accepted money to say otherwise) but some of those who walked with Jesus on a daily basis and heard him predict his death, watched him die and were standing face to face with him still doubted. This blew my mind! We might criticize them for their doubts in our minds just like we are tempted to criticize the Israelites for their constant doubts and complaining. I wonder what my doubts would look like in the perspective of someone else.

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