You made it! You are done with your first Gospel, and you made it. I’ll never forget when I was a kid and every single Easter after church my father would read the first 10 verses of Matthew 28 as we gathered around the table for lunch. My mom would always have a great spread and whenever he got to the part where it states: “there was a great earthquake”, my three brothers and I would shake that table with all of the food on it as hard as we could. The glimmer in my dad’s eye was captivating, he was so excited to see his kids excited over the resurrection. This would last until one of the legs would give way and we would all scramble to make sure the food wouldn’t fall off the table and we would put the leg back in place. Yeah, missionary families are a bit strange, but we sure had fun together.
Speaking of missionaries, we have in this chapter the great commission. The great commission is when Jesus tells us in verses 16-20 to go and make disciples. These are the verses that have provided the impetus and the motivation for those who would go overseas and risk their lives and sacrifice the benefits and the comforts of home to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who have not heard. The Great Commission, again these verses in 16-20 are at the center of the desire and the motivation for when my family, Stacy and I and the girls, spent 9 years across the seas teaching and preaching the Gospel. We serve because we are called to teach, to baptize, and to make disciples. It still creates in me a strong burning desire to hit the streets to share the good news.
Over these past few months I’ve been having conversations with some members of the church and there has been a revelatory moment when they said with much enthusiasm: You are a missionary pastor! This explains why you are so interested in the biker boys, why the second service which is supposed to reach those who are unchurched is so important, why the church as a community church is central to my ministry. The Great Commission is not just for the pastor, but for all of us. Each one reach one needs to be a part of our very fabric, it is what Jesus left his disciples at the end of Matthew.
I’m not going to skip the resurrection, don’t worry. But I already mentioned it in the first chapter. Matthew has the women meet Jesus on their way out of the tomb. This is the only Gospel where Jesus is seen, embraced by the women, gives them all a message, and they go on their way. We will be able to compare the other Gospels as we get to them in the future. Let us just say that it is the resurrection which gives our faith its strength. Paul tells us that if Christ is not resurrected then our preaching and our faith is in vain. This Scripture provides us with the strength of the Gospel and the reason why it is so crucial to our faith. Without the resurrection, there is no Gospel. That could go a long way in explaining why the guards felt like it was imperative to cover up the resurrection as a fabrication of the disciples.