“The Easter Earthquake”

On April 21, Pastor Jim preaches on Matthew 28:1-10.

1 After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 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. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 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.” 8 So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Fear and joy, though usually mutually exclusive, share similar symptoms: rapid pulse, high energy, tears, and deep emotion. Imagine the sensation of being fearful and joyful simultaneously. One of the things I’ve noticed after reading the Gospel accounts is all the running. The women run and the disciples run. I grew up listening to Sunday school stories told to me through a flannel board. On the flannel board the characters always moved serenely and slowly. Nobody ran.

What would it take to get you running? What is the most wonderful thing you can imagine that would also scare the life out of you? Easter was full of earthquakes, angels, and running women. It’s not for the faint of heart.

One of the certainties of life is that the dead stay dead. On Easter the tomb is empty. Our Lord, once bruised and battered and hanging on a cross, is no longer in his grave. Remember how they put him in a “borrowed tomb?” Sure enough, he was only borrowing it. He just needed it over the weekend. After that he was elsewhere. Jesus had places to go, things to do, and people to see!