Easter Sunday Sermon (Matthew-28:1-10)

The disciples of Jesus had lived through a roller coaster of emotions during that first Holy Week. 

They had been carried along by the cheering crowds of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

They had spent the festival vigilant in the face of the risk to Jesus from the authorities, both Jewish and Roman.

They had experienced the intimacy of eating and drinking with Jesus and one another at the Passover Supper;

And then the fear, the shame, the despair, the grief of Jesus’ arrest and trail, and then, His horrific death.

In those circumstances, the deadness of grief might almost seem welcome.

It offers the chance to retreat into the dark and to stop feeling for a while. A way to blot out the pain.

Strangely, there is comfort in the dark, and a certain bleak peace.

So, two women called Mary go early in the morning to a tomb they know to be secure and guarded.

They go to grieve.

The bright light of a Jerusalem morning may well be shining around them, but there is a darkness in their hearts.

They are sad of course, devastated even, but perhaps they are not afraid, not anymore. When the worst you feared has happened, there is no more reason to be afraid.

So, it is not the darkness of the tomb that scares them out of their wits, but the light!

The light from two figures who ought not to be there.

One is from another world, an Angel, who should not exist in the real world of a Jerusalem garden.

The other, well, they saw Him crucified, they saw Him die; He should be dead!

But both break into the darkness of grief and despair with a searing white light of hope and joy.

Grief they understood, we all understand, it has its rituals and its expectations.

But this new thing, this unexpected joy; this painfully bright light, this is terrifying.

They run from the Angel and the empty tomb and they run headlong into Jesus and fall at His feet.

And the first words to them echo the message of the Angel:

“Do not be afraid; go and tell”

Each of the Gospel writers tells the story of the Resurrection in a distinctive way.

But none of the Gospel writer’s attempts to tell us what happened to Jesus between Good Friday and Easter Day.

That remains a terrible, but beautiful, mystery.

Instead the Gospel writers show the effect of the Resurrection on those who were there.

A bright light had pieced the gloom of the world, and nothing would ever be the same again, ever!

Dark death had been overcome.

Our Lord has overcome pain, overcome sin, overcome death; He has fulfilled the Father’s will on earth, as in heaven.

And we, as committed Christians, are commissioned, by Christ Himself, to not be afraid. Not to succumb to darkness but embrace the light.

To share our joy!

 “Do not be afraid; go and tell”