Read John 20:19-29. Today you read about the disciples gathering in an “undisclosed location” to avoid being seized by the Jewish authorities. Thomas is not with them when Jesus first appears, and when he hears the story of Jesus’ return he demands proof. Where in your life are you hiding in fear of someone else? Where do you need trust the witness of others that Jesus is alive? Are you ready to proclaim Jesus as “my Lord and my God?”
Read Luke 24:13-35.
Take time to read through the story of two disciples’ “Walk to Emmaus.” Note the actions Jesus took with those disciples (walking, talking, listening, teaching, breaking bread, praying, going on ahead to who knows where …). What actions is Jesus inviting you to take with a friend today?
Read Mark 16:1-20. The encounter with the empty tomb in Mark’s gospel is told a little differently in Mark’s gospel. Here the women depart from the tomb in fear and are unable to say anything to anybody. When has good news paralyzed you? When has the good news set you free to say “Jesus is alive!”?
Read Matthew 28:1-20. Ponder the "Great Commission" in today’s reading and ask yourself, “who is Jesus sending me to reach today?” Where do you need help to fulfill this commandment? What more do you need to learn? Who do you need to support you? Remember Jesus’ promise that he is with you until the end of the age.
Scripture: 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?
Continue reading “SOAP on Matthew 28:8 – Were You There …?”
Read Matthew chapter 28. Resurrection! Jesus’ resurrection gives Christians hope for all times and all
places. The Gospel promises us “It will get better, so much better.” Eternal life with God waits for all who believe in Jesus Christ. Whatever circumstance has pinned you down today will be overcome. Not even death could conquer Jesus. Life really does go on. Not just on this earth, but in heaven as well. Our physical life here is but temporary in the grand scheme of God’s time. Our troubles will be just a fleeting memory when we gather with all the saints and meet God face to face. Resurrection really does happen. Thanks be to God. Amen.
Read Matthew chapter 27. Jesus died for the sins of the world. Take time today to ponder this holy mystery … in the death of the One Son of God, all are made whole. Is there something in your life you are having trouble putting behind you? Confess your sin before the Lord and let Him make you as white as snow. There is nothing Jesus can’t forgive.
Read Matthew chapter 26. Today’s lesson reminds us that Jesus knows the pain and suffering others can inflict. Who among us hasn’t been rejected or betrayed by someone else? Who hasn’t been in a situation where those around let us down or denied us? What does it mean to you to know that Jesus has shared in the same victimizations that we have face?
Read Matthew chapter 25. Tying these three parables together today is the theme that being ready for the Lord is not a “wait and see” approach; instead the correct action seems to be “wait on and serve.” Are you using all you’ve been given to serve the least of these; or are you trifling away your time and talent? How could you re-organize your time to be most pleasing to God?
Scripture: The prophets words, "Tell the daughter of
Zion, ‘Look, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a
donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey’" were fulfilled in Jesus (Matthew 21:5, NRSV).
Observe the Context: Today’s lesson lies in the middle of Jesus’ celebratory entrance into Jerusalem. Suddenly the once hostile crowds seem to be supportive of Jesus. The people are excited about his presence and strip palm leaves to lay at Jesus’ path and stretch their garments across the road.
Their shouts while emphatic and boisterous still reveal a misconception about the identity of the promised Messiah. Jesus is called "Son of David," "the one who comes
in the name of the Lord," and "prophet." By citing the prophesy of Zechariah 9:9, Matthew brings the people’s Messianic expectations into this dramatic scene.
Against the backdrop of shouted hosannas, Matthew emphasizes a discordant note in the triumphant entry. Jesus instructs two disciples to find a very
particular mount, a donkey, at a particular location, with a particular partner … her young colt. Matthew seems to tells us that Jesus rides into Jerusalem on collective back of both the donkey and the colt. Matthew does not allow us to misread the identity of either mount … they are not a handsome high-spirited horse or a noble steed.
No, Matthew wants readers to be perfectly
aware of the incongruity between the crowd’s shouts, the royal
processional, and the humble, simple beast of burden upon which Jesus
Continue reading “SOAP on Matthew 21:5 – Who Wants to Be a Donkey?”