“Do not be afraid.”

For the remainder of the week, we will continue to do what was already begun the last two days: read gospel accounts about events after the Resurrection.  Today we move to Matthew (28:8-15), where we read about Mary Magdalene and a companion coming from the empty tomb only to encounter Jesus Himself.  He tells them to go to His disciples and inform them to go to Galilee where He will meet them.  At that very time, the chief priests and elders bribe the tomb guards to lie and say that Jesus’ body was stolen by His disciples (a story that was circulated still at the time of Matthew’s writing).  The utterance at top was the first words out of Jesus’ mouth as He approached the women.  Comforting words for them and for us during extraordinarily trying times.  Jesus, taking on the weight of an entire history of sin manifested in the agony, torture, and death He endured, has overcome it all on our behalf to open up the possibility of life eternal with Him.  Of what she would be afraid?  As difficult as it may get for us, whether in suffering in a manner physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual, we have no need to fear.  In this life, Jesus walks with us, and if need be, carries us, through it all if only we place full trust in Him.  Whatever the circumstances, no matter how painful, if we stick with Christ, in the next life we have the blessed hope of hearing one day: “Well done, my good and faithful servant….Come, share your master’s joy.” (Mt 25:23)  There, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there shall be no more death or mourning, wailing or pain, [for] the old order has passed away.” (Rev 21:4)  Be not afraid!

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