Meanderings

SOAP on Matthew 28:8 – Were You There …?

Colorcover_8Scripture: So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples (Matthew 28:8, NRSV).

Observe the Context: The women have come to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. The impending Sabbath had left unfinished the burial preparations on a Friday that is now called “Good.” A holy Sabbath of muttering under their breath, slamming fists against walls, hand-wringing, emptying tear ducts, and wailing crashed into this morning walk to the tomb. And now the tomb is empty … what does that mean? Could it mean? Does it mean? No wonder they ran with JOY and FEAR. Had our “were you there’s” turned into “did you hear?

Applying the Text to Our Lives: Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Can you identify with one of those facing the cross?

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? A centurion was.

  • He was only “doing his duty.”
  • He watched over the mocking and taunting crowd.
  • He may have enjoyed inflicting pain on a beaten man.
  • He may have been free, but probably not a citizen.
  • He was amazed by Jesus’ death.
  • He said, “Truly this man was God’s Son.”

Have you ever just done your job?

  • Have you ever stood by why others mocked a defenseless person?
  • Have you ever inflicted pain on another person?
  • Have you ever been unsure of your real status in the world?
  • Have you ever asked “what on earth I am here for?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Veronica was.

  • Her name only exists in the lore of the early church.
  • She wiped the blood, grime, and sweat from Jesus’ face.
  • She had compassion for a broken man and did her little bit.

Have you ever just been there at the right moment?

  • Is your name forgotten, but an act of compassion remembered?
  • Have you stooped to wipe blood, sweat, and grime from a face?
  • Have you been frustrated that you could not do more?
  • Have you ever asked, “what on earth am I here for?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord or were you
standing on a far hill taking it all in? Mark was on that hill.

  • Have you ever run naked into the night? Mark did
  • He ran not out of drunkenness, but out of fear.
  • He ran and when grabbed said “you can have my cloak.”
  • He ran and said “but you can’t have me.”

Have you ever fled when you should have stood your ground?

  • Have you ever given up your shame for physical safety?
  • Have you ever just wanted to be left alone?
  • Have you ever asked “what on earth am I here for?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord? The women were.

  • They were present when the closest followers had fled.
  • They were strong when others were weak.

Have you ever stood resolute in the face of death?

  • Have you ever suffered with another mother in pain?
  • Have you ever asked “is this really what I am on earth for?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord or were you
slinking along in the shadows? Peter the
Rock was in the shadows.

  • He had promised that he would never desert Jesus.
  • He had promised that he would never deny Jesus.
  • And when he did both he hid from view.

Have you ever failed to keep a promise to someone you loved?

  • Have you ever fled when you should have stood up for someone?
  • Have you ever denied a friend in the face of taunts?
  • Have you ever asked “what on earth am I here for?”

If you were there when they crucified my Lord …

If you stood by doing your duty as others ridiculed him …

If you stooped to wipe his face yet could not do more …

If you ran for the hills stripped of your pride …

If you stood by weeping and unable to stand against the powers …

If you cowered in the shadows having denied him three times …

Then I say CHRIST IS RISEN! (HE IS RISEN INDEED!)

What on earth are you here for? You are no accident. God planned for
a purpose and God desires
that you find and live into the fullness of that promise in your life.
Our military may advertise “Be all you can be,” but our God means it.
Jesus came to bring us life! God stuck his thumb in death’s eye when he
raised Jesus to life.

What on earth am I here for? (Purpose-Driven Living

You were planned for God’s pleasure – Grace-filled Worship
FIRE – the power of the Spirit for purification and freedom

You were formed for God’s family – Group Fellowship
OIL – the power of the Spirit to comfort and strengthen

You were created to become like Christ – Growing Discipleship
WATER – the power of the Spirit to receive life in Christ

You were shaped for serving God – Gifted Ministry
WIND – the power of the Spirit for creative service

You were made for a mission – Generous Mission
DOVE – the power of the Spirit to suffer for others

If you are here today knowing your life is messed up …

If you are here today knowing you tried to make things work …

If you are here today trying to fix your broken relationships …

If you are here today trying to hold onto a faithful lifestyle …

You are here today because you need God’s GRACE! Jesus came back for
us! He came back for those who deserted him, fled into the hills, wiped
his face, stood by him, and denied him.

And here is even better news – JESUS CAME BACK FOR YOU!!

So I say again CHRIST IS RISEN! (HE IS RISEN INDEED!)

Prayer: Now it’s enough to shout “HE IS RISEN.” But, I want us to do something more today. Stand now and sing “Majesty.”

Sing to the One Who Was raised by our God from the dead.
Sing to the One Who Is to Come to restore God’s kingdom.
Sing to the One Who Is right now – right here – in this place.
Sing to Jesus Christ – the Lord and Savior of all. AMEN.