As I was reading this morning, I noticed five different instances in Matthew 28, where a story is told.
1. Matt. 28:5-7, the angles tell the women at the tomb that Jesus is risen, and reminds them to go tell the disciples the news.
2. v. 8-10, Jesus meets these trembling and yet joyous ladies on the way to the disciples to tell them to good news of his victory over death.
3. 28:11, the guards who fled the tomb that resurrection morning “reported to the chief priests everything that had happened.”
4. 28:12-15 the chief priests and the elders devised a plan to keep this Jesus story under wraps, and instead of victory over death, it was reported that Jesus’ body was stolen by his grieving and desperate disciples.
5. 28:16-20 — Jesus gives what we know as the Great Commission to go into all the world and make disciples…
Five instances in the same chapter of telling a story, really a variation of the same general story — that Jesus had risen from the dead. For the women at the tomb, and the disciples, this story launches them forward into seeing the inauguration of the kingdom of God. It was God’s great rescue mission underway. God was alive and putting the world to rights, and he was doing it through the proclamation of the resurrection. But, for the chief priests and elders of the people of Israel, this story threatened their very core and so they crafted an alternate version of reality.
We live today in a world of stories, and yet the resurrection story, and what God is doing in and through Jesus is still being proclaimed and lived out in the lives of God’s people and competing with an alternate story that claims there is no hope, and that this story of hope is really just one of many stories all equal in its veracity.
The question we all wrestle with is, how the Jesus story transformed the disciples and still transforms those who encounter the goodnews of the resurrection. The trajectory of the resurrection story hasn’t slowed, or waned. And yet the trajectory of the alternate story has grown, and still competes for the same audience today. And yet, what I am finding and learning is that the proclamation of the resurrection of Jesus is to be offered right alongside those who don’t yet grasp yet, or believe it. Those who have sense the coming of the kingdom are called to live our this story daily even in a world that doesn’t recognize the Gospel.
The church was given a “Go,” mission in a world that doesn’t primarily believe. May we be as bold as to proclaim what God has done for us in and through Jesus with our words, and with our very lives everywhere we go.