April 16, 2017

The Resurrection: Frightening News

Matthew 28:1-10

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”

—  Matthew 28:5-6

When an angel appeared to someone, it was usually a frightening event—but the Easter angel really shook things up. He caused an earthquake when he opened Jesus’ tomb—not to let him out but to show that the tomb was empty. The Roman guards were scared stiff by the quake. The angel, however, urged the witnesses to spread the good news that Jesus had risen from the dead!

It’s likely that both the earthquake and the angel’s appearance frightened the women who had come to the tomb. The angel had to calm their fears so that they’d hear him: “I know that you are looking for Jesus. . . . He has risen.”

Easter’s new life collides with Good Friday’s deadly cruelty! Remember the horror of that day?

The resurrection of Christ is earth-shaking news. Fear of the Lord is appropriate, along with life-changing joy.

“Come and see the place where he lay,” the angel said. “Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead.’”

The witnesses saw and went and told, and witnesses have been telling ever since. Today, 2,000 years later, we also see, and we also must proclaim, “He has risen!”

And if that news is fearsome, we’ve got it right.

Hallelujah! You, Lord Christ, are risen from the dead. Restore to us the joy of your salvation even though we have long known the rest of the story—because it’s true! In your name, Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!