WHICH DAY IS IT? One effect that the shutdown has had on many people is confusion about which day of the week it is without our normal time markers - especially coming to church on Sundays - to guide us. The opening sentence of ch. 28 can cause some confusion: "After the Sabbath... on the first day of the week..." For us, the sabbath day is on Sunday, which is the first day of the week. Remember though, for most of Biblical history the Sabbath was on the seventh day - Saturday (The Spanish word Sabado captures this idea). The event of this particular 'first day' is the reason for the change - we rest and worship on what has come to be known as the Lord's Day (Acts 20:7, 1 Cor. 16:2, Rev. 1:10). In a sense, we celebrate the resurrection every week!
HOLINESS ON DISPLAY: There are many appearances of angelic beings scattered throughout the Bible and most of them mention the lightning like, massively bright white appearance, which stands in the starkest of contrasts with the dark sin of this world. Is it any wonder that so often the first words that are spoken are what we read here: "Do not be afraid" (v5). After greeting Mary & Mary with a word that could just as easily be translated as 'rejoice', the first thing the newly resurrected Jesus says are the very words God has been telling His people throughout history: "Do not be afraid" (v9-10). In all of the previous times these words were spoken, they were pointing forward, as in, 'do not be afraid, because I will save you.' Now, however, Jesus tells you not to be afraid because He has saved you. So do what he says here: rejoice!
SO WHAT OUR WE SUPPOSED TO DO NOW? If you've not already memorized the Great Commission, now is a great time to do it:
All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
WHY THE ITALICS? Believe it or not, there is only one imperative verb in those two sentences (an imperative verb is a command to do something). As you may have guessed, the imperative here is to make disciples, or more simply put, to disciple. Going, baptizing, and teaching are all important things the church must do, but all of them are aspects of making disciples. It's also the only aspect of this commission (which isn't optional for Christians, by the way) that you can do individually. All of the church's activities depend on your discipleship. That's why we've made such an emphasis this year on our Spiritual Disciplines.
AAA Prayer Tips:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: All authority in heaven and earth has been given to our God & Savior Jesus Christ
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Make disciples, starting with yourself.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: