We Should Know Better
Acts 10:34-43; Psalm 118:1-2,14-24; Colossians 3:1-4; Matthew 28:1-10
The angel sat on the stone dazzling with Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jesus looking back in fear and amazement. The angel ends her message delivery with a flat, ''This is my message for you'' like she has done this a thousand times on other planets. Angels in Matthew's gospel tend to be like Fed Ex delivery people. They bring their package, hold out a clipboard for you sign and they leave. It's just a job to be done. Nothing more.
But why are we so willing to only receive half the message? Why do we only hear and understand the part about how Jesus must suffer and die without really hearing and understanding the second part about being raised?
The word angel means messenger so they really are like divine Fed Ex delivery beings. You may recall that each time an angel delivers a message, they always precede their message with ''Do not be afraid.''
Jesus walks on water and when the disciples see him they are terrified. He tells them, ''Do not be afraid.'' When they went up the mountain with Jesus and he became dazzling white, Peter, James and John fell to the ground overcome by fear. Jesus touches them and says, ''Get up and do not be afraid.'' The angel said to Zechariah, ''Do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.'' And of course the angel said to Mary, ''Do not be afraid, for you have found favor with God.'' Even the shepherds heard the angel say to them, ''Do not be afraid; for see--I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:''
When an angel tells you not to be afraid, get ready. They will deliver a message to you, hold out the clip board and you must sign it to receive the package. Then it's up to you to put it to use. The disciples in fact FAILED to hear Jesus tell them that he would first suffer death and then be raised. They FAILED to ...
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